Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Health Education

First Advisor

Ogletree, Roberta

Abstract

Burn injury impacts the lives of over 1.1 million people within the United States annually (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2011). Taking into account current advancements in burn trauma care, approximately 95 percent of those hospitalized will survive their injuries. With increased survival rates, greater attention is being focused on the psycho-social aspect of burn treatment and rehabilitation. There is an opportunity for health educators to affect the long-term wellness outcomes of adult burn survivors and to support their growth beyond survival status. This may not constitute recovery to their preinjury lives, but rather recovery to lives closer to optimal health/wellness as opposed to mere acceptance of their current situation. Utilizing a phenomenological qualitative design, this study explored the burn-related experiences and underlying factors of resilience among burn survivors living in the Midwestern United States. After conducting single, semi-structured interviews focused on eight burn survivors' dimensions of health, the themes that emerged through data analysis were "How it Feels," "Somehow I'm Still Me," and "Yet, I'm Better." The findings of this study support the presence of innate resilient protective factors within participants' journey toward recovery and health. Through the experiences of the participants within this study, there is an opportunity for health educators to increase their understanding of the experiences of burn trauma and the impact of resilience on positive recovery outcomes.

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