Burn patients do not suffer from heightened anxiety, depression
Anxiety and depression symptoms are not especially elevated among people who have sustained burns, a recent study has shown.
The study included 164 burn patients (mean age, 45.5±15.5 years; 77 percent male), in whom psychological burden was measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, while the Short Form-36 questionnaire was used to assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Only those with >10 percent total body surface area were eligible for inclusion.
A reference group of 6,093 controls (mean age, 46±15.1 years; 46 percent male) was also included.
Burn patients garnered mean anxiety scores of 5.7±4.6 and 5.8±4.6 after 12 and 24 months, respectively. These were not significantly different from reference scores over the same time span (p=0.12 at 12 months; p=0.06 at 24 months).
In comparison, depression scores in burn patients at 12 and 24 months were 4.6±4.0 and 4.7±4.4, respectively. Twelve-month scores were comparable with controls (p=0.12), but depression was significantly different between groups at 24 months (p=0.031).
Linear regression analysis identified the presence of pre-existing conditions as a significant predictor of anxiety (β, –1.46, 95 percent CI, –2.86 to –0.06; p=0.042) and depression (β, –1.96, –3.18 to –0.74; p=0.002). The same was true for the lack of employment in the past 12 months (anxiety: β, 1.15, 0.49–1.81; p=0.001; depression: β, 0.68, 0.09–1.27; p=0.023).
The present findings identified no particular elevations in mental health problems among burn patients, said researchers. “Some patients, however, express these symptoms, and at the same time report a poorer HRQoL, although it is more likely that anxiety, depression and poor quality of life comes from the fact that burned patients tended to have more coexisting conditions beforehand.”