Injury-specific instruments with good psychometric properties are valuable in the assessment of health status after trauma. Previous studies of burn-specific health have attempted to create broad domains such as physical and psychological health, but these domains have not been validated. In this study, burn-specific health domains were explored and validated by a factor analytic approach.
Participants were 334 former burn patients injured between 1980 and 2000. Data were collected from medical charts and by a postal questionnaire, the Burn Specific Health Scale-Brief (BSHS-B). The nine subscales of the BSHS-B were subjected to second-order factor analysis. The sample was split into two subsamples that were equal with respect to burn severity.
The factor structure was well replicated in each of the subsamples and in the total sample. Three internally consistent and well separated domains were derived: affect and relations (BSHS-B subscales interpersonal relationships, affect, sexuality), function (simple abilities, hand function), and skin involvement (heat sensitivity, treatment regimens, body image). The work subscale of the BSHS-B was excluded from the analysis because of consistent double loadings. The three domains had intelligible associations with injury-specific and sociodemographic variables.
The underlying structure of the BSHS-B comprises three clinically meaningful health domains. The work subscale is not part of these domains and can be considered a separate outcome domain. The domain scores increase the understanding of outcome after burn injury and could prove useful in clinical use of the BSHS-B.