Variables Influencing the Self Esteem in Children with Congenital or Acquired Limb Deficiencies

LORI ANN RUBENFELD, MA, JAMES VARNI,DARLENE TALBOT, AND YOSHIO SETOGUCHI, MD


Children with physical handicaps may be at increased risk for low self esteem. We investigated social support, family functioning, self perceptions of appearance, behavioral conduct, social acceptance, scholastic and athletic competence, and daily hassles and microstressors. These may be determinants of general self esteem. Forty-one children with either congenital or acquired limb deficiency were studied. Comparisons were made between the self esteem of the children with amputation and that of a group of physically healthy children. Classmate, parent, teacher, and friend support are all significant predictors of self esteem, as are family conflict and independence, microstressors, and self perceptions of scholastic and athletic competence, social acceptance, behavioral conduct, and physical appearance.

Child Amputee Prosthetics Project, University of California at Los Angeles Rehabilitation Center, 1000 Veteran Avenue, Room 25.26, Los Angeles, CA 90024