Do illness perceptions and mood predict healing time for burn wounds? A prospective, preliminary study

Emily R H Wilson, Julie A. Wisely, Alison J. Wearden, Ken W. Dunn, Jacky Edwards, Nicholas Tarrier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Some burn wounds take longer to heal than others, but this cannot be fully explained by physical factors such as burn size and depth. Research interest has therefore focussed on the potential contribution of psychological factors, such as perception of the burn and distress, to the wound healing process. Objectives: Using the framework of Leventhal's Common-Sense Model, we investigated whether patients' perceptions of their burn wounds and distress contributed to healing time, and whether this was via the mediating role of adherence to treatment recommendations. Method: Seventy-two adult burn-injured outpatients completed questionnaire measures of burn perceptions (Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire), distress (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), trauma symptoms (Impact of Event Scale-Revised) and appearance concerns (Derriford Appearance Scale-24). Burn characteristics, healing time and adherence data were taken from clinic notes. Results: Distress, trauma symptoms and appearance concerns were positively correlated with negative burn perceptions. In regression analysis, burn perceptions added significantly to the prediction of burn healing time after age, medical factors and burn characteristics had been controlled for. Adherence measures were not significantly correlated with burns perceptions. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that patients' perceptions of their burns contribute to healing time. Further research on the mechanisms of this association is warranted. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)364-366
    Number of pages2
    JournalJournal of psychosomatic research
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


    • Burns
    • Distress
    • Healing
    • Illness perceptions


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