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Mental disorder in limb reconstruction: Prevalence, associations and impact on work disability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Early online date23 Aug 2016
Accepted/In press21 Aug 2016
E-pub ahead of print23 Aug 2016
Published1 Oct 2016


King's Authors


This cross-sectional survey aimed to assess the prevalence of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and drug and alcohol dependence in a limb reconstruction population and examine associations with demographic and functional variables.

As part of routine clinical care, data were collected from 566 patients attending a tertiary referral centre for limb reconstruction between April 2012 and February 2016. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcohol and drug dependence were measured using standardised self-report screening tools.

173 patients (30.6% CI 26.7–34.4) screened positive for at least one of the mental disorders assessed. 110 (19.4% CI 16.2–22.7) met criteria for probable major depression; 112 (19.9% CI 16.6–23.2) patients met criteria for probable generalised anxiety disorder; and 41 (7.6% CI 5.3–9.8) patients met criteria for probable PTSD. The prevalence of probable alcohol dependence and probable drug dependence was 1.6% (CI 0.6–2.7) and 4.5% (CI 2.7–6.3), respectively. Patients who screened positive for depression, anxiety and PTSD reported significantly higher levels of pain, fatigue, and functional impairment. Depression and anxiety were independently associated with work disability after adjustment for covariates (OR 1.98 (CI 1.08–3.62) and OR 1.83 (CI 1.04–3.23), respectively).

The high prevalence and adverse associations of probable mental disorder in limb reconstruction attest to the need for routine psychological assessment and support. Integrated screening and management of mental disorder in this population may have a positive impact on patients' emotional, physical and occupational rehabilitation. A randomised controlled trial is needed to test this hypothesis.

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