Skip to main content
The assessment of psychological factors on upper extremity disability: A scoping review
Journal of Hand Therapy
  • Joy C. MacDermid, McMaster University
  • Kristin Valdes, Gannon University
  • Mike Szekeres, Hand Therapy Canada
  • Nancy Naughton, Professional Orthopedics Associates
  • Lori Algar, Orthopaedic Specialty Group
Document Type
Publication Date
URL with Digital Object Identifier

© 2017 Hanley & Belfus Introduction: The primary purpose of this scoping review was to describe the nature and extent of the published research that assesses the relationship between psychological features and patient-reported outcome following surgery or rehabilitation of upper extremity disease or injury. Methods: Twenty-two included studies were examined for quantitative study design, outcome measure, inclusion/exclusion criteria, follow-up and recruitment strategy. Patient population and psychological assessment tools were examined for validity. Results: Twenty-two studies met the inclusion criteria for this study. Only 7 of the 22 studies were longitudinal and the rest were cross sectional studies. Depression was the most common psychological status of interest and was included in 17 studies. Pain catastrophizing was the psychological status of interest in 5 of the studies. Four studies considered anxiety, 3 considered pain anxiety, 3 considered distress, 2 considered coping, 2 considered catastrophic thinking, and 2 considered fear avoidance beliefs. Discussion: The majority of studies in this review were cross-sectional studies. Cross-sectional studies may not provide conclusive information about cause-and-effect relationships. This review encourages clinicians to be mindful of the psychological implications found in rehabilitation of individuals with upper extremity disease or injury along with being cognizant of choosing appropriate measurement tools that best represent each patient's characteristics and diagnoses. Conclusions: The nature of the research addressing psychological factors affecting outcomes after hand injury focus on negative traits and have limited strength to suggest causation as most have used cross-sectional designs. Stronger longitudinal designs and consideration of positive traits are needed in future studies.

Citation Information
Joy C. MacDermid, Kristin Valdes, Mike Szekeres, Nancy Naughton, et al.. "The assessment of psychological factors on upper extremity disability: A scoping review" Journal of Hand Therapy Vol. 31 Iss. 4 (2018) p. 511 - 523
Available at: