Socioeconomic deprivation and burns

Burns. 2010 May;36(3):403-8. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2009.05.021. Epub 2009 Dec 16.


Burns are a complex phenomenon with multiple interactive factors. Age, ethnicity and socioeconomic deprivation have been identified in the literature as important determinants of this form of injury.

Objective: The primary objective of this study was to undertake a descriptive analysis of the socioeconomic factors associated with burn injuries in New Zealand. This analysis will help to identify those individuals at greatest risk of burn and assist with the design of targeted interventions that are more likely to be effective.

Method: A retrospective review of the medical records of patients admitted acutely to hospital in New Zealand with a burn between 1996 and 2006. We reviewed the records with regards to patient demographics and socioeconomic position.

Results: A total of 14,708 admissions were reviewed. Stratification by age indicated that admissions were highest in the 0-4-year age group. The rate of admission was highest in the Maori ethnic group. The rate of admissions increased in proportion with increasing deprivation.

Conclusion: This study confirms marked ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in burn injuries requiring hospital admission. This is unacceptable and preventable. We propose active targeting of burn prevention strategies at high-risk groups as a cost-effective way of reducing disparities.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Burns / ethnology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / statistics & numerical data
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult