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Stress and Coping in Relatives of Burn Patients: A Longitudinal Study
David F. Celia; Samuel W. Perry; Sonia Kulchycky; Cleon Goodwin
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Dr. Milton Viederman, who served as an audiotape rater, and Robert Amand, a research nurse at the burn center.

Department of psychology and social sciences at Rush Medical College, Rush Cancer Center at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago

New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Standardized psychological assessment of 48 close relatives of patients hospitalized for burns revealed that the relatives experienced high levels of distress diring the acute phase of the patient's hospitalization. At six-month follow-up, the relatives' general psychological symptomatology had receded to within the normal range, but 25 percent continued to show specific stress syndromes characterized by intrusive and avoidant responses to the past burn trauma. Intrusive-avoidant stress responses could not be predicted by demographic information, severity of the burn, facial disfigurement, or actual responsibility for the burn, but blaming oneself for the injury to the patient was a significant predictor. Evaluating stress responses of close relatives after burn trauma can lead to more successful intervention for those who remain stressed and may enhance patient and family compliance with the treatment and rehabilitation regime.

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