From Survival to Socialization: A Longitudinal Study of Body Image in Survivors of Severe Burn Injury.

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Reference Type:
Journal Article
Accession No.:
Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):
2008, vol. 64, issue 2, pp 205-212
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Objective Little is known about the course of body image dissatisfaction following disfiguring injury or illness. The objective of this study was to test a proposed framework for understanding the trajectory of body image dissatisfaction among burn survivors and to longitudinally investigate the role of body image in overall psychosocial functioning. Methods A sample of 79 survivors of severe burn injuries completed the Satisfaction with Appearance Scale (SWAP), the Importance of Appearance subscale of the Multidimensional Body–Self Relations Questionnaire, and the SF-36 in the hospital and at 6 and 12 months postdischarge (SWAP and SF-36). A repeated-measures analysis of covariance model was used to assess the course of body image dissatisfaction over time, and a path analysis model tested the role of body image dissatisfaction in mediating the relationship between preburn and postburn psychosocial functioning. Results Female sex (P<.05), total body surface area burned (P<.01), and importance of appearance (P<.01) predicted body image dissatisfaction. From hospitalization to 12 months postdischarge, body image dissatisfaction increased for women (P<.01) and individuals with larger burns (P<.01) compared, respectively, to men and individuals with smaller burns. In the path analysis, body image dissatisfaction was the most salient predictor of psychosocial function at 12 months (ß=.53, P<.01) and mediated the relationship between preburn and 12-month psychosocial function. Conclusion Findings from this study suggest the importance of routine psychological screening for body image distress during hospitalization and after discharge.
Thombs, B. D.; Notes, L. D.; Lawrence, J. W.; Magyar-Russell, G.; Bresnick, M. G.; Fauerbach, J. A.
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