Impact of pediatric burn camps on participants’ self esteem and body image: An empirical study
This study focuses on possible effects of specialized summer camps on young burn survivors’ self esteem and body image.
Quantitative as well as qualitative measures was used. To study possible effects, a pretest–posttest comparison group design with a follow-up was employed. Self-report questionnaires were used to measure self esteem and body image in a burn camp group (n = 83, 8–18 years) and in a comparison group of children with burns who did not attend a burn camp during the course of the study (n = 90, 8–18 years). Additionally, burn camp participants and parents completed an evaluation form about benefits derived from burn camp.
A small positive short-term effect of burn camp participation was found on the ‘satisfaction with appearance’ component of body image. Overall, participants and parents showed high appreciation of the burn camps and reported several benefits, particularly concerning meeting other young burn survivors.
Albeit statistically modest, this is the first quantitative study to document on a significant short-term impact of burn camp on young burn survivors’ body image. Implications of this result for future research and burn camp organization were discussed, including the strengths of residential camps for young burn survivors.