Psychiatric disorders in long-term adjustment of at-risk adolescent burn survivors

Christopher R. Thomas, Patricia Blakeney, Charles E. Holzer, Walter J. Meyer

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31 Scopus citations


This study investigated the point prevalence of psychiatric disorders among adolescent long-term burn survivors. Psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses were assessed in 50 youth (30 males, 20 females) characterized as troubled by their parent or guardian on the Child Behavior Checklist from a sample of 93 adolescent burn survivors. Those selected for further evaluation had a mean age at time of burn injury of 4.5 ± 3.7 years and the mean age at time of diagnostic interview was 14.9 ± 1.6 years. The average burn injury size among participants was 42 ± 25% total body surface area. Psychiatric diagnoses were assessed with the computerized diagnostic interview schedule for children. Just over half of these youth (52%) met criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders and many had two or more diagnoses (22%). The most common psychiatric diagnoses were anxiety disorders (36%), followed by substance use (18%) and disruptive behavior disorders (14%). In comparison to previous reports, this study found lower rates of current psychiatric disorders in adolescent burn survivors, even though the participants were considered troubled by a parent. Although there were lower rates of anxiety disorders, especially posttraumatic stress disorder, there were higher rates of substance use disorders and a shift in type of behavior disorders in contrast to previous reports. Although there are limitations in such comparisons, this may indicate changes in the risk factors encountered by adolescent survivors of burn injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-463
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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