Social Competence in Pediatric Burn Survivors: A Systematic Review

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Objective: Youth sustaining burn injuries during childhood have dramatically increased survival rates due to improvements in medical treatment and multidisciplinary approaches to burn critical care and recovery. Despite positive advancements in burn treatment, youth sustaining such injuries may experience social deficits. Thus, this systematic review without meta-analysis investigation contributes to the growing literature on this topic by comparing social competence of pediatric burn survivors to youth without burns, and examining potential correlates of social competence among children and adolescents who have sustained burn injuries. Method: Fifteen empirical studies assessing social competence among youth with burns and published in the last 4 decades (i.e., 1980–2015) were identified. Data from youth, parent, and teacher perspectives related to social competence in pediatric burn survivors were extracted from studies meeting inclusion criteria. Results: Results comparing social competence levels between pediatric burn survivors and youth without burns were mixed; some studies indicate that the social competence levels of pediatric burn survivors fell within the normal range, whereas other work found these youth to display social deficits. Conclusions: Implications for clinical practitioners, methodological strengths and limitations of the included research studies, and directions for future research are discussed.

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