This study examined the relationships between tenacious goal pursuit (TGP), flexible goal adjustment (FGA), and affective well-being in a sample of individuals with lower limb amputations.
Ninety-eight patients recently admitted to a primary prosthetic rehabilitation programme completed measures of TGP, FGA, positive affect, and negative affect.
Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that TGP and FGA accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in both positive and negative affect, controlling for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. TGP was significantly positively associated with positive affect, while FGA was significantly negatively associated with negative affect. Moderated regression analyses indicated that the beneficial effect of FGA on negative affect was strongest at high levels of amputation-related pain intensity and low levels of TGP.
TGP and FGA appear to influence subjective well-being in different ways, with TGP promoting the experience of positive affect and FGA buffering against negative affect. TGP and FGA may prove useful in identifying individuals at risk of poor affective outcomes following lower limb amputation and represent important targets for intervention in this patient group.
Statement of contribution
What is already known on this subject?
The loss of a limb has a significant impact on several important life domains. Although some individuals experience emotional distress following amputation, the majority adjust well to their limb loss, with some achieving positive change or growth as a result of their experiences.
Theories of self-regulation propose that disruptions in goal attainment have negative affective consequences. The physical, social, and psychological upheaval caused by limb loss is likely to threaten the attainment of valued goals, which may leave individuals vulnerable to negative psychosocial outcomes if they do not regulate their goals in response to these challenges.
According to the dual-process model of adaptive self-regulation, individuals manage discrepancies between perceived and desired goal attainment by either modifying their life situation or behaviour to fit their goals (tenacious goal pursuit [TGP]) or adjusting their goals to situational constraints (flexible goal adjustment [FGA]). Examining psychosocial adjustment to amputation from this perspective may offer some insight into the diversity of affective outcomes observed.
What does this study add?
Contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying adjustment to acquired disability.
Offers a theory-based explanation for the diversity of psychosocial outcomes observed post-amputation.
Identifies important targets for interventions to enhance adjustment in this population.