Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth after Burn: A Review of Barriers, Enablers, and Interventions to Improve Psychological Recovery

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Burn injuries are traumatic experiences that can detrimentally impact an individual’s psychological and emotional wellbeing. Despite this, some survivors adapt to psychosocial challenges better than others despite similar characteristics relating to the burn. Positive adaptation is known as resilience or posttraumatic growth, depending on the trajectory and process. This review aimed to describe the constructs of resiliency and growth within the burn injury context, examine the risk factors that inhibit resilience or growth after burn (barriers), the factors that promote resilience or growth after burn (enablers), and finally to assess the impact of interventions that have been tested that may facilitate resilience or growth after burn. This review was performed according to the recently updated Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Guidelines. An electronic search was conducted in November 2021 on the databases PubMed, Medline (1966-present), Embase (1974-present), PsycINFO for English-language peer-reviewed academic articles. There were 33 studies included in the review. Findings were mixed for most studies; however, there were factors related to demographic information (age, gender), burn-specific characteristics (TBSA, time since burn), person-specific factors (personality, coping style), psychopathology (depression, PTSD), and psychosocial factors (social support, spirituality/religion, life purpose) that were evidenced to be related to resilience and growth. One qualitative study evaluated an intervention, and this study showed that a social camp for burn patients can promote resilience. This study has presented a variety of factors that inhibit or encourage resilience and growth, such as demographic, individual, and social factors. We also present suggestions on interventions that may be used to promote growth following this adverse event, such as improving social support, coping styles and deliberate positive introspection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-121
JournalEuropean Burn Journal
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022


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