The purpose of this study was to identify specific premorbid factors and injury characteristics associated with intentional burn injuries and to compare outcomes for individuals injured by assault and those with unintentional injuries. Participants sustaining major burns from May 1994 to August 2005 and consenting to a multisite, prospective, longitudinal outcome study were included. Etiology of the injury was classified as intentional (i.e., assault) or unintentional. Subjects <18 years old or with self-inflicted burns were excluded. Statistical analysis was performed with t-tests, χ tests, and analysis of variance. Eighty patients sustained intentional burn injuries and 1982 subjects sustained nonintentional burn injuries. Compared to patients with nonintentional burns, those with burns related to assault were more likely to be female, black, and unemployed and to have higher rates of premorbid substance use. Between the groups, there were no significant differences in preinjury living situation, education level, history of psychiatric treatment, or hospital length of stay. The intentional-burn group had larger burns and a greater in-hospital mortality rate, and these patients were less likely to be discharged to home. They also demonstrated significantly greater levels of psychological distress during the acute hospitalization but not at follow-up. Understanding the unique characteristics and needs of patients with intentional burn injuries is important because these individuals are less likely to have a steady income and more likely to rely on community social services. Affordable and accessible community-based health services are necessary in order to improve their outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine