Life Satisfaction Over the First Five Years Following Burn Injury



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Individuals with burn injuries increasingly survive their injury, but we know little about their psychological outcomes following the injury. This study examines life satisfaction outcomes for 260 individuals who sustained burn injuries and were assessed repeatedly over a five year period post-discharge with the Life Satisfaction Index (LSI), Functional Independence Measure (FIM), and Family Satisfaction Scale (FSS). Structural equation modeling was used to predict life satisfaction (LSI) based on functional impairment (FIM), family satisfaction (FSS), pain, and employment variables. Study participants were assessed at 12 months, 24 months, 48 months, and 60 months post discharge. Each time period assessed was analyzed as a model of life satisfaction predictors; additionally, a prospective model was proposed which combined data from all four time points in one path analysis of predictors of life satisfaction at 60 months post discharge.

Results indicate that family satisfaction, functional independence, employment, and pain did not explain the variance associated with life satisfaction scores (variance explained ranged from 4% at 24 months post discharge to 11% at 60 months post discharge). Few paths in all five of the models proposed proved significant, suggesting that other factors influence life satisfaction in individuals with burn injuries. These results constitute an important addition to the limited literature surrounding psychological outcomes of those who suffer burn injury and have implications for future studies to advance research on this issue.