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Psychosocial interventions for young people with burn injuries and their families

Armstrong-James, Laura


Laura Armstrong-James


Burn injuries can be one of the most traumatic experiences of a young person’s life. Research has documented a wide range of effects that a burn injury can have on both the children and young people (CYP) who sustain the injury and their family, including depression, anxiety, social difficulties, and appearance-related concerns. However, while it is acknowledged that these issues may be far-reaching and long-lasting, little research has explored interventions to facilitate healthy
psychosocial adjustment after a burn injury. The majority of previous research in this area has focused on camps for CYP with burn injuries but has tended to neglect other interventions, as well
as support for other family members. This thesis considered a range of interventions relating to
different levels of psychosocial need according to the Centre for Appearance (CAR) framework for
appearance-related interventions, which suggests that as the intensity of an intervention increases,
the number of people requiring that intervention decreases.
This thesis employed a mixed methods approach across four studies to investigate a range of
psychosocial interventions for CYP with burn injuries and their families. Study 1A utilised photo
elicitation techniques to explore seven families’ (n=21 participants in total) experiences of
attending a specialised family burn camp. Study 1B aimed to further research into CYP’s burn
camps, by addressing a number of methodological flaws identified in previous research.
Standardised outcome measures and open-ended questions were used to evaluate CYP’s (n=23)
and their parents’ (n=22) expectations and experiences of camp. A feasibility study of a newly
developed online support programme was then undertaken with CYP (n=3), one guardian and
clinical psychologists (n=10) to investigate whether it could help to improve care provision within
paediatric burns. The final study was exploratory in nature, and involved qualitative interviews with
clinical psychologists working within paediatric burns (n=14), to consider their current practices
when providing face-to-face support to CYP with burn injuries and their families. The thesis ends
with a consideration of these interventions and their place within psychosocial burn care, followed
by a discussion of the clinical and research implications generated from the four studies. The
current research indicated that the psychosocial needs of CYP with burn injuries and their family
can be demonstrated using the CAR framework, and met using a tiered model of care.
Key terms are defined throughout the thesis and in the glossary (appendix 1). Copyright permissions
for all images used are located in appendix 34.


Armstrong-James, L. Psychosocial interventions for young people with burn injuries and their families. (Thesis). University of the West of England

Thesis Type Thesis


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