Adjustment to hand injury Cross sectional survey exploring adjustment in relation to illness perceptions and coping strategies

Catherine Turkington, Martin Dempster*, Jennifer Maguire

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
227 Downloads (Pure)


Study Design: Cross-sectional descriptive. Introduction: Hand injuries are highly prevalent, and the impact they have on physical, emotional, and functional adjustment is well recognized. Increasingly, adjustment to health conditions including hand injuries is being understood in terms of psychological variables. Purpose of the Study: To examine the role of illness beliefs and coping strategies in adjustment to hand injury. Adjustment was considered from a complete perspective including quality of life (QOL) and functional ability as well as mood and trauma symptoms. Methods: Cross-sectional survey whereby consecutive patients (n = 65) attending the regional plastic surgery service with hand injuries were invited to complete a questionnaire assessing illness perceptions, coping strategies, QOL, hand functioning, depression, and trauma symptoms. Data were analyzed in SPSS (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY) by correlation and then hierarchical regression analysis. Results: Illness perceptions and coping strategies were significantly related to the adjustment outcomes (hand functioning, QOL, depression, and trauma symptoms). Specifically, poorer adjustment was associated with more negative illness beliefs (r = 0.31-0.47), greater use of denial (r = 0.24-0.53), and avoidance-based (r = 0.41-0.64) coping strategies. Discussion: Illness beliefs and coping play an important role in adjustment after hand injury. Adjustment is multifaceted with a need to consider physical and emotional functioning. More optimistic beliefs and adaptive coping styles are associated with improved adjustment. Conclusion: The role of psychological variables in optimizing adjustment is an important consideration for the design of psychological interventions, but because this study was cross sectional and cannot assume directional effects, future longitudinal studies are needed. Level of Evidence: N/A.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hand Therapy
Early online date03 Jul 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 03 Jul 2017


  • Adjustment
  • Common sense model
  • Hand injury
  • Illness beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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