Social and economic factors associated with the risk of burn injury

Burns. 2007 Dec;33(8):958-65. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2007.05.002. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


Socioeconomic status (SES) factors have been associated with the risk of burn, but the relative significance of these findings across populations and cultures is not known. The purpose of this literature synthesis was to determine: (1) which SES factors have been associated with burn risk; (2) whether these factors are generalizable across studies; and (3) which of these factors are modifiable. A search of studies of SES and burn risk published between January 1992 and September 2006 yielded 34 pertinent studies. SES risk factors were placed into categories pertaining to ethnicity, income, family structure, education, occupation, residence, and general SES. SES factors associated with increased risk included: ethnicity (non-white), low income, large families, single parents, illiteracy, low maternal education, unemployment, job loss, substandard living conditions, not owning a home, not having a telephone, and crowding. The lack of standard definitions for SES, as well as the heterogeneity of study populations and outcome variables, limits the generalizability of these results. However, the results confirm that several SES factors are associated with increased risk of burn and provide a template of factors to be considered when studying burn populations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Burns / ethnology
  • Burns / etiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Family Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors