A Simplified Domain Structure of the Burn-Specific Health Scale-Brief (BSHS-B): A Tool to Improve Its Value in Routine Clinical Work

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Abstract

Background:

Injury-specific instruments with good psychometric properties are valuable in the assessment of health status after trauma. Previous studies of burn-specific health have attempted to create broad domains such as physical and psychological health, but these domains have not been validated. In this study, burn-specific health domains were explored and validated by a factor analytic approach.

Methods:

Participants were 334 former burn patients injured between 1980 and 2000. Data were collected from medical charts and by a postal questionnaire, the Burn Specific Health Scale-Brief (BSHS-B). The nine subscales of the BSHS-B were subjected to second-order factor analysis. The sample was split into two subsamples that were equal with respect to burn severity.

Results:

The factor structure was well replicated in each of the subsamples and in the total sample. Three internally consistent and well separated domains were derived: affect and relations (BSHS-B subscales interpersonal relationships, affect, sexuality), function (simple abilities, hand function), and skin involvement (heat sensitivity, treatment regimens, body image). The work subscale of the BSHS-B was excluded from the analysis because of consistent double loadings. The three domains had intelligible associations with injury-specific and sociodemographic variables.

Conclusion:

The underlying structure of the BSHS-B comprises three clinically meaningful health domains. The work subscale is not part of these domains and can be considered a separate outcome domain. The domain scores increase the understanding of outcome after burn injury and could prove useful in clinical use of the BSHS-B.

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