INTRODUCTION: Work integration and retention after burn injury is a key outcome. Little is known about how burn survivors reintegrate into the workplace. This article compares scores on the Life Impact Burn Recovery Evaluation (LIBRE) Profile, a burn-specific measure of social participation, between burn survivors and general population samples, focusing on the Work and Employment domain.
METHODS: Convenience samples of burn survivors and the U.S. population were obtained. Differences in demographic and clinical characteristics and LIBRE Profile scores were assessed. To examine work and employment, we compared family and friends, social activities, and social interactions scores among working vs nonworking burn survivors.
RESULTS: Six hundred and one burn survivors (320 employed) and 2000 U.S. residents (1101 employed) were surveyed. The mean age (P = .06), distributions of sex (P = .35), and Hispanic ethnicity (P = .07) did not differ significantly. Distributions of race (P < .01) and education (P = .01) differed significantly. The burn survivor sample had higher scores, demonstrating higher participation, for work and employment (mean = 49.5, SD = 9.42) than the general sample (mean = 46.94, SD = 8.94; P < .0001), which persisted after adjusting for demographic characteristics. Scores on the three domains administered to all respondents were higher (P < .001) for working than nonworking burn survivors.
CONCLUSION: Distributions indicated higher social participation in the burn survivor sample than the general sample. Possible explanations include sample bias; resilience, posttraumatic growth, or response-shift of survivors; and limitations of using items in the general sample. Working burn survivors scored higher than those not working. Future work can explore factors that mediate higher scores and develop interventions.