Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Chair; Cynthia D. Connelly, PhD, RN, FAAN; J. (Dee) Cannon, PhD, RN, CDR


extremity injuries, mental health, military combat, military training, nursing, Traumatic amputation, United States Armed Forces, well-being


Military operations have resulted in a significant number of mangled extremities leading to traumatic amputations. Extremity injuries predominate, representing 50% to 70% of all injuries treated (Melcer, 2010). The majority of injuries sustained in Operation Endearing Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) are combined penetrating, burn and blast injuries, traumatic amputation, and infections from the multi-drug resistant organism, Acinetobacter (Melcer, 2010). The purpose of this study was to measure the quality of well-being and impact of events in a group of adults who served in the U.S. armed forces and sustained the loss of one or more limbs during any combat or military training activity. The specific aims of this study are: 1) To describe the level of well-being (e.g., degree of mobility, physical/social activity, pain, anxiety, depression, anorexia, fatigue) and level of PTSD symptoms (e.g., degree of intrusive thoughts, intentional avoidance, hyperarousal). 2) To describe relevant personal, environmental, and disability factors in adult military personnel, specifically personal factors (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity); environmental factors (e.g., current living situation); and disability factors (e.g., number of amputations, location of amputations). 3) To examine the relationship between levels of well-being, PTSD symptoms, and relevant personal, environmental, and disability factors. An analysis of a chronological account of events and a description of all of the approaches attempted was compiled. It was apparent that the researcher was the best candidate to conduct the study, and did everything possible to encourage participation but was unable as it was designed. The possible explanations of behaviors of real-life events were numerous to include: political, chain of command, fear of retribution, feelings of being overwhelmed, apathy, signs and symptoms of phantom limb pain, and depression. Although the aims of the study were not realized as designed, much can be learned about this population because of these efforts. What follows is a description of the extraordinary efforts made to recruit subjects. Next are the uses of Yin's (2009) framework to explore the related rival explanations that contributed to the feasibility of study completion. The conclusion discusses the implication for successful future research.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons