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Exploring users’ attitudes towards prosthesis aesthetics in the UK and Greece
journal contributionposted on 31.01.2020 by Anna Vlachaki, Abby Paterson, Samantha Porter, Richard Bibb
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Previous studies have highlighted the importance of prostheses on users’ well-being; however, the effects of the prosthetic appearance on users’ lives have not been thoroughly explored. The aim of this study was to explore how the aesthetics of prosthetic limbs affected users in two countries with different cultures; the UK and Greece. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used based on semi-structured interviews, alongside probes. Seven participants (nUK=4; nGR=3) were recruited, based on purposive methods. All the participants were adults, who had limb-loss due to amputation. The results regarding the role of prosthetic limbs, with respect to their appearance, revealed one theme related to users’ personal life, and two opposing themes regarding users’ social lives. Prosthetic limbs with unattractive appearance negatively affected participants’ well-being, whilst expressive prostheses, an alternative prosthetic type that focuses on highlighting users’ identity, could increase their selfconfidence. Regardless of the extent to which participants were conscious about the aesthetics of their prostheses, they indicated that expressive prostheses were more attractive. Therefore, they could educate society and help users be more easily accepted. However, caution needs to be paid in the case of collectivistic societies, as expressive prostheses could increase users’ stigmatisation.