A literature review to determine the impact of sexuality and body image changes following burn injuries
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
The purpose of this study was to perform a review of the existing literature to (a) determine the impact of sexuality and body image changes following burn injuries in an adult population and (b) identify if there is a relationship between the two variables and the impact this potentially has on burns survivors’ quality of life. A total of 16 research articles; sexuality (n = 5) and body image (n = 8), sourced from online databases were reviewed. Both quantitative and qualitative studies that investigated adult burn survivors in both inpatient and outpatient settings were included in this review. The literature suggests there is an interaction between body image dissatisfaction, sexual satisfaction and longterm psychological adjustment, particularly for female burn survivors. However, methodological limitations of the studies reviewed limits the transferability of the findings to clinical practice. Three themes were identified throughout the literature; satisfaction/dissatisfaction, adjustment issues and stigmatisation. Changes in body image and sexuality have a potential negative effect on burn survivors’ long-term quality of life. Further collaborative empirical research is required to understand the incidence and prevalence of these issues as well as intervention studies evaluating treatment programs for best practice.