Long-term adjustment in burn victims : a matched-control study.



To date, there is little information about how severely burned patients compare to unburned healthy individuals in terms of psychological profile and quality of life. As part of a larger study on the sensory consequences of burns, we assessed psychological functioning and quality of life in burned patients and unburned healthy control subjects. We also examined whether burn patients experiencing pain and/or paresthetic sensations (i.e. symptomatic patients) present a profile that is different from those who are asymptomatic.


Forty-nine burned patients (% total body surface area = 34 59 % +/- 13.40; 82% males/18% females) were evaluated 63 59 +/- 28.1 months post-burn. They were matched with 49 unburned healthy volunteers on age, sex, and education level. All subjects were administered the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised (SCL-90-R) to assess psychological functioning and the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) to assess quality of life.


Approximately 25% of the burn patients presented clinically-significant psychological disturbances compared to 12% in the control group. Burn patients enjoyed a quality of life comparable to that of the control subjects, although they perceived some deterioration in their general health. More symptomatic than asymptomatic patients suffered from clinically-relevant somatization and obsessive-compulsive disturbances.


Severely burned patients adjust relatively well, although some develop clinically-significant psychological disturbances such as somatization and phobic anxiety. Burn patients experiencing abnormal sensations in their healed wounds (i.e. symptomatic patients) do not suffer from maladjustment to a greater extent than their asymptomatic counterparts, although more symptomatic patients experience somatization and obsessive-compulsive behaviours.

N. Altier, A. Malenfant, R. Forget and M. Choinière | 2002
In: Psychological medicine, ISSN 0033-2917 | 32 | 4 | May | 677-685
Placement code: 
Yzermans collectie