University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Pain, depression, and physical functioning following burn injury


Ullrich, P., Wiechman Askay, S., & Patterson, D



Publication Info:

Rehabilitation Psychology, 54(2):211-216


OBJECTIVE: Little is known about how pain and depression after burn injury may influence long-term outcomes such as physical functioning. This prospective study examined associations between pain, depression, and physical functioning in a sample of burn injury survivors.
DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: Questionnaires assessing pain, depression, and physical functioning were completed by 64 (52% of original sample) adult burn survivors shortly after discharge from burn care and at 1- and 2-year follow-ups.
RESULTS: Pain and physical functioning improved over the 2 years of the study, whereas depression levels were stable. Pain and depression were associated with poorer physical functioning over time, but associations varied according to the time span under consideration. Also, the association between pain and physical functioning was strongest among persons with higher depression scores.
CONCLUSIONS: Pain and depression may contribute independently to compromises in physical functioning. The co-occurrence of pain and depression represents even greater risk for reduced physical functioning over time among burn survivors.

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