Functional and Psychological Outcomes Following Burn Injury: Reduced Income and Hidden Emotions Are Predictors of Greater Distress

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The aim of this study is to determine whether functional and psychosocial outcomes after burn injury in New Zealand are consistent with the international literature. Fifty participants with burns >10% TBSA and a mean of 5.1 years since burn completed a survey that included questionnaires and open-ended questions. The rates of psychosocial distress for this sample were consistent with international reports. Psychological distress was predicted by negative change in income and by reports that the individual has hidden thoughts and emotions from others. Respondents also described positive changes in their life as a result of the burn injury that were independent of negative outcomes. Participants indicated good long-term functional improvement but ongoing psychological distress. Important indicators for poor outcome may be loss of income and reluctance to discuss emotions.

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