The development and validation of the psychosocial adjustment to burn questionnaire for children age five and under

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Keri J. Brown Kirschman


The goal of this study was to develop and validate a brief screening tool to assess for psychosocial symptoms in children and their parents following a pediatric burn. In 2002, approximately 92,500 children under the age of 14 were treated in emergency rooms for burn injuries (National SAFE KIDS Campaign, 2004). Children under the age of five account for more than 50% of all pediatric burns (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008; Tarnowski & Brown, 2003). Empirically validated techniques to reliably assess for psychological distress in children and their families following a burn injury are crucial toward timely and comprehensive treatment efforts. Early identification of psychosocial problems has been shown to prevent or reduce the severity of psychological problems later in life. The Psychosocial Adjustment to Burn Questionnaire (PABQ) was developed as a parent-report survey for children ages five and under. The PABQ content was generated via review of pediatric burn literature v and consultation with pediatric psychologists. Specifically, the domains of depression, anxiety, externalizing behaviors, pre-injury psychological functioning, developmental regression, and parental adjustment emerged as themes of particular interest for young pediatric burn patients. The final measurement contains a total of 35 items: 27 items assessing child functioning and 8 items assessing parent functioning. The PABQ was administered to 55 guardians two weeks or longer after their child had sustained a burn warranting medical attention. The PABQ demonstrated strong internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent validity with the Child Stress Disorder Checklist (CSDC), Behavioral Assessment System for Children II (Parent report; BASC-PRS), and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-S). Future research should examine the factor structure and the clinical utility of the PABQ.


Burns and scalds in children Psychological aspects Research, Children Wounds and injuries Psychological aspects Research

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