Relationship of cosmetic disfigurement to the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder in burn injury or digital amputation

Psychother Psychosom. 1999 Mar-Apr;68(2):82-6. doi: 10.1159/000012317.


Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships of physical factors including physical functioning and cosmesis to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in patients with burn injury and in patients with digital amputation.

Methods: Subjects were 56 patients with burn injury and 26 patients with digital amputation. In addition to assessments of physical factors, psychiatric interviews were administered to examine mental disorders including PTSD and major depression.

Results: The prevalence rates of PTSD and major depression were 33.9 and 7.1% in burn-injured patients and 18.5 and 7.4% in patients with digital amputation respectively. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed that, regardless of the severity of burn injury such as percentage of total body surface burned, female victims with cosmetic disfigurement (i.e., facial burn) exhibited PTSD symptoms, in particular PTSD symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing. For subjects with digital amputation, MANOVA indicated that, regardless of the degree of physical functioning after replantation, female victims with cosmetic disfigurement exhibited PTSD symptoms.

Discussion: These findings suggest that, in female victims with burn injury and/or digital amputation, the degree of cosmetic disfigurement is related to the manifestation of PTSD symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Amputation, Surgical / psychology*
  • Amputation, Surgical / rehabilitation
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Burns / complications
  • Burns / psychology*
  • Burns / rehabilitation
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Fingers / surgery
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prevalence
  • Replantation / psychology
  • Replantation / rehabilitation
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / classification*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Toes / surgery