OBJECTIVE: To examine differences in long-term social reintegration outcomes for burn survivors with and without peer support attendance.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.
SETTING: Community-dwelling burn survivors.
PARTICIPANTS: Burn survivors (N=601) aged ≥18 years with injuries to ≥5% total body surface area (TBSA) or burns to critical areas (hands, feet, face, or genitals).
INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The Life Impact Burn Recovery Evaluation Profile was used to examine the following previously validated 6 scale scores of social participation: Family and Friends, Social Interactions, Social Activities, Work and Employment, Romantic Relationships, and Sexual Relationships.
RESULTS: Burn support group attendance was reported by 330 (55%) of 596 respondents who responded to this item. Attendees had larger burn size (43.4%±23.6% vs 36.8%±23.4% TBSA burned, P<.01) and were more likely to be >10 years from injury (50% vs 42.5%, P<.01). Survivors who attended at least 1 support group scored significantly higher on 3 of the scales: Social Interactions (P=.01), Social Activities (P=.04), and Work and Employment (P=.05). In adjusted analyses, peer support attendance was associated with increased scores on the Social Interactions scale, increasing scores by 17% of an SD (95% confidence interval, 1%-33%; P=.04).
CONCLUSIONS: Burn survivors who reported peer support attendance had better social interaction scores than those who did not. This is the first reported association between peer support group attendance and improvements in community reintegration in burn survivors. This cross-sectional study prompts further exploration into the potential benefits of peer support groups on burn recovery with future intervention studies.