Pain is Associated With Increased Physical and Psychosocial Impairment in Youth With a History of Burn Injuries

J Pain. Mar-Apr 2020;21(3-4):355-363. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2019.08.002. Epub 2019 Aug 8.


Burn injuries are significantly painful and associated with physical and psychological impairment. However, little research to-date has examined the potential role of the subjective experience of pain in either physical or psychological impairment in this population. This may be particularly important to examine, given that the pain experience can often be a significant barrier to recovery in other pediatric populations. The current study examined the cross-sectional and predictive relationships between patient-reported experience of pain (operationalized as PROMIS pain interference and self-reported pain intensity) and physical and psychosocial outcomes. Data were gathered as part of the Burn Model System National Database (1994-2018) with the data request inclusive of pediatric self-report PROMIS measures, child PTSD, and post-traumatic growth symptoms assessed at 6- and 12-month postdischarge following initial injury. A total of 65 youth between the ages of 6 and 16 years at the time of their injury were included in the dataset. Correlational and regression analyses indicated that pain interference was cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with decreased physical functioning, depressive symptoms, and peer relationships. Pain intensity was significantly associated with and predictive of physical functioning and pain interference. Results of the current study are an important first step in understanding the pain experience and associated outcomes in youth with a history of burn injuries. Future research is needed to further examine these relationships. PERSPECTIVE: This study presents preliminary findings from a national database on pain-related outcomes both cross-sectionally and longitudinally in youth with a history of burn injury. To-date, pain-related outcomes are poorly understood in this population and the results of this study serve to inform future research and treatment-related efforts.

Keywords: Pediatric pain; burn injury; impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.