Background: Burn injuries are not uncommon in children and adolescents and often have lasting influence on emotional functioning, family relationships, body image, and quality of life in survivors. Although there has traditionally been a focus on negative or psychopathological consequences of such traumatic events (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder), there is an increasing emphasis on positive outcomes of such traumas, generally termed "posttraumatic growth" (PTG). PTG was first described in adults and was found to consist of five factors: relating to others, new possibilities, personal strength, spiritual change, and appreciation of life. PTG has also been found by a small number of studies to occur in children and adolescents following traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters, and receiving a cancer diagnosis. To date, no studies have examined the prevalence or correlates of PTG in pediatric burn survivors. The purpose of the proposed research project is to estimate the prevalence of PTG in this population, as well as to examine variables that are potential correlates or predictors of PTG.
Method: Potential participants will include pediatric patients of six burn centers across the United States and one parent or caregiver. It is estimated that 150 children and their caregivers will participate in this study. Participants will complete a number of measures and questionnaires to assess relevant variables via online survey. Prevalence of PTG will be estimated using descriptive statistics of the measure of PTG (the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory for Children - Revised). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses will be utilized to determine significant predictors of PTG. Significance: Data from the proposed study will contribute towards the understanding of PTG in children, as well as the experience of pediatric burn survivors. Furthermore, certain variables may inform the development of interventions designed to enhance pediatric PTG.