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Disabil Rehabil. 2014;36(2):170-6. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2013.782365. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

"Look and feel your best": representations of artificial limb users in prosthetic company advertisements.

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1
School of Health & Medicine, Lancaster University , Lancaster , UK and.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Artificial limbs (prosthetics) are considered important for keeping the person physically active and avoiding an array of negative health outcomes associated with non-use. Increasingly, the potential users of these limbs are the focus of commercial prosthetic company advertisements. It has been argued that it is important to examine such media representations, not least because people's beliefs regarding health and illness are often forged from the discourses and constructions available to them in such material, but because these representations mediate individual lived experience.

METHOD:

This article provides a thematic analysis, drawing upon discourse analysis and semiotics, of textual-pictorial representations of artificial limb users in the advertisements of prosthetic companies. The data set was comprised of advertisements that appeared over a 2-year period in inMotion, an international magazine produced and distributed by a major amputee advocacy group.

RESULTS:

The findings indicate that dominant societal constructions of work, gender and family are drawn on in depicting artificial limb users. These offer generally positive representations that draw on socially pervasive stereotypes.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings are discussed in relation to literature concerning the experience and meaning of prosthesis use, and the implications for health professionals working with this group are set out. Implications for Rehabilitation People who lose a limb are increasingly being exposed to advertisements from prosthetic companies. Such advertisements have the potential to foster unrealistic expectations regarding rehabilitation following amputation. Healthcare professionals need to be mindful of how these advertisements mediate lived experience and impact on rehabilitation when planning personal care plans.

PMID:
23614375
DOI:
10.3109/09638288.2013.782365
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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