The Effect of Age, Gender and Socioeconomic Status on Self-esteem, Body Image and Quality of Life of Amputees: An Evaluation Seven Years after the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake

Tin-wai Julia Lam, Long-ching Lusanda Tang, Wai-wang Chau, Sheung-wai Law, Kai-ming Chan


Purpose: Psychological well-being is a growing concern in society. It is starting to play a pivotal role in the treatment and care of clients. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of age, sex and socioeconomic status on the self-esteem, body image and quality of life of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake amputees. Many of them are at a significant stage in their lives, especially those who are making the transition from childhood and adolescence into adulthood.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in October 2015. Forty-five participants were recruited from clinic sessions in Sichuan. The main outcome measures were Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), Chinese Amputee Body Image Scale (CABIS), and WHO Quality of Life-Bref Instrument (WHO-QOL-Bref). Results were analysed using Student’s T-test and Chi-square test where appropriate, and ANOVA for multi-group comparisons.

Results: Participants under 18 years of age scored higher in RSE (p=0.05), and lower in CABIS (p<0.005). They also scored higher in various QOL domains (D3: p<0.08, D4: p=0.06) and WHOQOL-Bref question 2 (p=0.06). Participants of different SES did not show any significant differences in the outcome measures. Female subjects scored higher in WHOQOL-Bref Question 1 (p=0.03).

Conclusion and Implication: Younger amputees have less body image distortion, higher quality of life and self-esteem compared to older amputees. Female amputees also appear to have a higher quality of life compared to male amputees. Socioeconomic status does not affect rehabilitation outcome and psychological well-being of amputees. However, the main factors affecting psychological well-being appear to be predominantly age and, possibly, gender.


Persons with amputation; earthquake; self-esteem; body image; quality of life; rehabilitation; psychological well-being

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