Psychiatric Outcome Over a Decade After Electrical Injury: Depression as a Predictor of Long-Term Adjustment

J Burn Care Res. Jul-Aug 2015;36(4):509-12. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0000000000000183.


Electrical injury (EI) produces a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional consequences. Psychiatric and neurocognitive symptoms may complicate survivors' psychosocial adjustment and ability to return to work. However, due to a paucity of longitudinal research, the long-term course of EI remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate psychiatric and functional status in EI patients over a decade after injury. Fourteen EI patients who originally underwent baseline neuropsychological evaluation participated in this long-term follow-up. Participants completed a telephone survey of functional status, neuropsychological symptom checklist, and the Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale Self-Report. Participants were grouped according to baseline Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores. After an average of 12.36 years postinjury, participants with elevated baseline BDI scores experienced difficulty across multiple domains of psychosocial adjustment at follow-up. This group was also less likely to return to work and exhibited a significant increase in psychological distress. EI results in significant chronic psychiatric complaints for many survivors. In the current sample, psychiatric sequelae of EI continue to persist over a decade after injury. Moreover, elevated baseline BDI scores predicted worse outcomes for vocational and psychosocial adjustment. Findings underscore the impact of emotional symptoms on recovery and need for specialized psychiatric intervention immediately following injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Electric Injuries / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Return to Work
  • Social Adjustment
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires