Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dana M. Howell

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


The goal of this qualitative case study was to describe the experience of one service member's decision of whether or not to return to duty (RTD) following limb amputation. The participants included a combat-wounded amputee and an occupational therapist who worked with the amputee during his period of transition. Participants were interviewed over the phone. Data from the interviews was transcribed and analyzed by a manual coding process. The service member completed a self-report questionnaire called the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths. Four themes were found: 1) the decision to RTD takes a long time, 2) life factors before injury impact the decision to RTD, 3) physical factors impact the decision to RTD, and 4) injury defined a new path in life post rehabilitation. Being able to predict at an early stage which direction an injured service member is most likely to follow will be a great advantage for both the individual and the military that employs them. The results of this study will help the military to support service members with amputations who decide to RTD or not, and to focus rehabilitation efforts in the appropriate direction.