Measuring Depression in Adults With Burn Injury: A Systematic Review

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We conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify evidence to support the use of measures of depression for adults with burn injuries. Our goal was to be able to identify the most reliable, valid, and efficient means of identifying adults with symptoms of depression including major depressive disorder. We modified established guidelines for conducting systematic reviews by excluding measures that focused on distress or anxiety or only used depression as a predictor of interest. We also excluded studies that did not report psychometric data in their results. We identified a total of 213 articles that broadly addressed the topic of depression in burn injuries; of those, 56 that met the majority of the inclusion criteria and used depression as either the primary or the secondary outcome were reviewed. Nine studies that included report of some psychometric properties were reviewed. There have been no measures specifically developed to measure depression in those with burn injuries, and it is unclear if they are actually needed. Greater understanding of depression after burn injury can be gained by evaluating the existing general measures of depression and how they are used in the field of burn injury rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is to develop a set of recommendations for the standardization of how depressive symptomatology is assessed in this population. In this review, we highlight the deficiencies of validated measures of depression in the field of burn recovery and provide specific recommendations for both clinicians and researchers to advance our knowledge of depression following a burn injury, which will allow us to advance treatment.

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