Psychosocial Sequelae of Pediatric Burns Involving 80% or Greater Total Body Surface Area

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Abstract

Important questions for pediatric burn care specialists relate to the quality of life for those children who survive the most severe burn injuries. This study examines the psychological adjustment of 25 children who survived injuries >80% total body surface area and the impact of such injury on the families. Data were analyzed from the most recent assessment, with the Child Behavior Checklist, Teacher Report Form, Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, Parenting Stress Index, and a parental questionnaire designed by the authors. As a group, the children's behavioral problems as reported by both parents and teachers were within normal limits. Measures of parental stress, however, clearly differentiated the burn population. These parents attributed more stress to characteristics of their children. Children with >80% TBSA burns develop positive feelings about themselves and appear no more troubled than a comparable group of nonburned children. The impact on the families is significant, however, and must be considered of consequence in the rehabilitation of the burned child.

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