The effect of burn injury on marital relationships

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Bruce Forman, Committee Chair


This study investigated the impact of traumatic injury on marital adjustment when one member of the couple presented with a traumatic burn injury. The relationship between the nature and severity of the injury and marital adjustment was also explored.The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) and the Behavior Exchange Inventory (BEI) were given to 13 couples in which one member of the dyad had suffered a burn injury, 12 couples in which one member of the couple had suffered a multiple orthopedic injury, 20 couples that were non-injured but involved in marital therapy and 20 couples that were non-injured and not involved in marital therapy. The Injury Severity Score (ISS) was tabulated by a physician in order to control for severity of injury across the two traumatically injured groups.The results did not demonstrate any significant differences in level of marital adjustment between the two non-injured control groups (couples in marital therapy and those not in therapy), the injured control group (couples with one member of the dyad presenting with a multiple orthopedic trauma) and the experimental group (couples with one member of the dyad presenting with a burn injury). Results also suggested that injury severity did not significantly correlate with the current level of marital adjustment for either the burn injured or mulitple orthopedic trauma groups.No combinations of BEI Intimate Scales were predictive of marital adjustment in the experimental burn injury group, with results being analyzed for couples, spouses and patients. The results of this investigation must be interpreted with caution as the sample size was small and based upon self-report measures.


Psychology, Social; Health Sciences, Medicine and Surgery; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies; Psychology, Physiological

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