Psychiatric outcomes amongst adult survivors of childhood burns Academic Article uri icon


  • Background

    Research on the adult psychiatric outcomes of childhood burns is limited.


    To examine the rates of DSM-IV psychiatric disorder amongst adult survivors of paediatric burns, and to explore factors likely to contribute to variation in outcomes. In line with Meyer and colleagues [1], it was expected that high levels of psychopathology would be found.


    Participants were 272 adults hospitalised for burns during childhood between the years 1980 and 1990. Structured interviews and self-report questionnaires were used to assess psychiatric symptoms.


    Lifetime prevalence of any DSM-IV disorder was 42%, 30% for depressive disorders, and 28% for anxiety disorders. Eleven percent had made a suicide attempt. Female gender, single relationship status, higher level of disfigurement, longer hospital stays and higher number of burn-related surgeries were associated with adverse psychiatric outcomes.


    High rates of suicidality and depression were concerning in adults with a history of childhood burns. Factors found to predict psychiatric outcomes could be used to direct interventions and further research is needed to establish how this could best be done.


  • Goodhew, Freya
  • Van Hooff, Miranda
  • Sparnon, Anthony
  • Roberts, Rachel
  • Baur, Jenelle
  • Saccone, Elizabeth J
  • McFarlane, Alexander

publication date

  • 2014

published in