Reasons for Distress Among Burn Survivors at 6, 12, and 24 Months Postdischarge: A Burn Injury Model System Investigation

Published:December 16, 2017DOI:



      To identify important sources of distress among burn survivors at discharge and 6, 12, and 24 months postinjury, and to examine if the distress related to these sources changed over time.




      Outpatient burn clinics in 4 sites across the country.


      Participants who met preestablished criteria for having a major burn injury (N=1009) were enrolled in this multisite study.


      Participants were given a previously developed list of 12 sources of distress among burn survivors and asked to rate on a 10-point Likert-type scale (0=no distress to 10=high distress) how much distress each of the 12 issues was causing them at the time of each follow-up.

      Main Outcomes Measures

      The Medical Outcomes Study 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey was administered at each time point as a measure of health-related quality of life. The Satisfaction With Appearance Scale was used to understand the relation between sources of distress and body image. Finally, whether a person returned to work was used to determine the effect of sources of distress on returning to employment.


      It was encouraging that no symptoms were worsening at 2 years. However, financial concerns and long recovery time are 2 of the highest means at all time points. Pain and sleep disturbance had the biggest effect on ability to return to work.


      These findings can be used to inform burn-specific interventions and to give survivors an understanding of the temporal trajectory for various causes of distress. In particular, it appears that interventions targeted at sleep disturbance and high pain levels can potentially effect distress over financial concerns by allowing a person to return to work more quickly.


      List of abbreviations:

      MCS (Mental Component Summary), PCS (Physical Component Summary), SF-12 (Medical Outcomes Study 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey), SWAP (Satisfaction with Appearance Scale)
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