Psychological sequelae of hand injuries: an integrative review

Review written by Dr Ian Gatt info

Key Points

  1. Hand injuries can result in various psychological effects which therapists should be aware of.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Hand injuries vary widely in severity and result in a range of effects. Physical effects could be accompanied by psychological impacts. The consequences of hand injury include pain and loss of function, but also frustration, fear and anxiety, anger, altered body image, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While the information on the psychological impacts of traumatic injury is slowly emerging, it appears there is still a gap in the literature for specific injury types, including hand injury. Further, therapists may not be well equipped to manage the psychological effects of an injury, beyond the physical effects.

The purpose of this study was to answer the following three questions;

a) Which psychological sequelae can accompany a hand injury?

b) At what time points in relation to the original trauma/surgery do psychological sequelae occur?

c) Which factors have been reported to influence the psychological sequelae development, type, and intensity?

While the information on the psychological impacts of traumatic injury is slowly emerging, it appears there is still a gap in the literature for specific injury types, including hand injury.
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These findings have implications for hand surgeons and the interdisciplinary team in providing early intervention for better psychological care for these patients, including access to psychological support and patient education.

METHODS

Of the 4329 articles identified, only 9 studies met the criteria for this review. Inclusion criteria were; studies of adults 18 years and older (or with a majority adult sample), English language papers published between Jan 2008 to June 2020,

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