Willebrand et al identified risk factors for psychological problems at 3 months after an accidental burn. These can help identify a patient who may benefit from early and aggressive psychological interventions. The authors are from Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with:

(1) intrusive thoughts

(2) avoidance (avoiding reminders of the accident)

(3) arousal symptoms


Risk factors associated with poor psychological health at 3 months:

(1) subjective perception of life threat during the burn accident

(2) reliance on avoidance (blocking thoughts by engagement in other activities) as a major coping strategy

(3) early onset (presence during initial hospitalization) of avoidance symptoms, anxiety and/or depression


Increased arousal symptoms were associated with

(1) perception of life threat

(2) increased age


Increased intrusive thoughts were associated with:

(1) perception of life threat

(2) coping by venting emotions (opposite to self-control)


Decreased intrusive thoughts were associated with:

(1) coping by self-control (restraining expression of emotions and not letting other know how one feels)



• Only 34 burn patients met criteria for evaluation with only 7 of these women.


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