Whilst research tells us about the benefits and challenges of using prostheses, little attempt has been made to account for and provide explanations for the differing experiences of prosthesis users. In this study, a core concern shared by prosthesis users and an account of how this concern is managed are explored.
Data were collected and analysed according to Grounded Theory procedures, involving interviews with 24 participants, 17 weblogs, 17 autobiographical texts, and posts from 4 online forums.
Prosthesis users are primarily concerned with being "just normal": the condition of being and living in ways that persons variously perceive are "about right"; that are sufficient, fair, and generally how things "ought to be" for them. This concern is acted upon through: (i) "preserving", where persons foresee and manage threats to being "just normal", (ii) "redressing", involving rectifying things judged not to be "just normal", and (iii) "persevering", where persons keep living "just normally" despite accompanying difficulties.
"Just normal" is a new means for rehabilitation practitioners to better understand a key concern of prosthesis users and the motivations underlying behaviours in their prosthesis use. It is also relevant and transferable to broader fields of assistive technology use and disability. Implications for Rehabilitation The grounded theory of "just normal" invites practitioners to discover a key concern in prosthesis use, enabling a richer understanding of the needs and desires of service users. Being "just normal" is presented as an important motivator underlying a range of diverse actions within prosthesis use. The theory is relevant and transferable to broader areas of assistive technology use and disability.