Burn-injured adolescents report gaining multiple developmental benefits and improved life skills as a result of burn camp attendance

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Journal of Burn Care and Research


Anecdotally, burn camp has been reported to be a positive developmental and rehabilitative experience for attendees; there is little empirical data to support this belief. This study sought to explore whether burn camp either directly or indirectly elicits positive development outcomes in pediatric burn survivors or increases their psychosocial well-being and achievement. The Youth Experience Survey 2.0, a 66-item self-report inventory designed to measure developmental experiences in an organized youth activity, was administered to children aged 11 to 18 years attending summer burn camp. One hundred and ten burn- injured youth, 58 male and 52 female, reported that burn camp had positively impacted their lives through improved identity exploration, goal-setting and problem-solving abilities, increased physical activity, communication, emotional regulation, and time management skills (P < .0001). Participants reported more positive experiences than the norm group and higher mean scores on 90% (48) of the 53 positive items. Attendance at burn camp for more than 5 years resulted in greater improvement. Study results support the burn camp experience as a far-reaching and positive developmental activity. Participants credited the camp experience with helping them with identity formation and reflection, improved social interactions, and increased initiative; all positive developmental outcomes for youth. Results suggest that burn camp participation not only helps burn-injured youth to deal with their burns but also assists them in the development of social and basic life skills, which will allow them to navigate the transition from youth to adulthood, more effectively and successfully. (J Burn Care Res 2012;33:552-560). © 2012 by the American Burn Association.

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