Comparing the Body Esteem of Pediatric Survivors of Burn Injury With the Body Esteem of an Age-Matched Comparison Group Without Burns

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ObjectiveTo evaluate the impact of scarring on the body esteem of pediatric survivors of burn injuries.MethodPediatric burn survivors, ages 8 to 18 years (n = 195), completed the Body-Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BES; B. K. Mendelson, M. J. Mendelson, & D. R. White, 2001), the Perceived Stigmatization Questionnaire, and the Social Comfort Questionnaire. A parent completed a demographic and burn characteristic questionnaire. Burn survivors between the ages of 12 and 18 years (n = 148) were compared with members of an age-matched comparison group without burns taken from published data on the BES validation sample (n = 981). Correlates of body esteem were examined among the survivors of burn injury.ResultsMale burn survivors did not differ from boys in the comparison group on the BES. Surprisingly, female burn survivors, on average, reported better body esteem than did girls in the comparison group. Among the survivors of burn injury, body esteem was unrelated to demographic variables (e.g., gender, age), had a small but significant relationship with various measures of scar severity, and was moderately related to both perceived stigmatization and social comfort.DiscussionThe clinical and theoretical implications of the study are discussed.

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