Some ecological variables of community adjustment in a group of facially disfigured burned children



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This is a study of the community adjustment of children with facial disfigurement from severe burns, utilizing daily records of the children's activities, away from home and school, over a continuous 4-week period. The sample included a group of eight facially disfigured burned children, and a matched, nondisfigured control group. Similarities and differences were explored between the disfigured and nondisfigured groups along nine descriptive variables of behavior setting analysis. The major findings were: 1.) For all the variables, there were no more statistically significant differences at the .05 level than would be expected by chance. The application of a strict statistical interpretation to these data is that, along the dimensions studied, there is no basic quantitative difference in the community adjustment of the two contrasted groups. 2.) Yet, the nine variables resulted in 53 comparisons, of which 36 were significant between the .05 and .20 level, and distributed in an internally consistent pattern. 3.) This pattern of near differences indicates: a.) A numerical advantage in frequency of experience (entries into settings) for the nondisfigured group in formal settings, which were farther from home, but for the disfigured group in informal settings, which tend to be within the neighborhood. b.) Differentiated experience (entered settings, varieties, and settings per variety) demonstrates a numerical advantage to the nondisfigured group in all the related analyses, with the exception of settings per variety. c.) Reiterativeness of experience (entries per setting) shows a numerical advantage for the nondisfigured group in formal settings, and a statistically significant advantage for the disfigured group in informal settings. d.) Measures encompassing temporal dimensions (total hours spent, hours per setting) reveal a numerical advantage in total hours for the nondisfigured group in formal settings, but for the disfigured group in informal settings. The hours spent per setting yield a numerical advantage for the disfigured group in both formal and informal settings. e.) The measures for level of participation (penetrations) and for social life (companions) do not portray a definite pattern, with the exception that the disfigured group demonstrated a somewhat greater tendency to have an escort in formal settings. The basic interpretation of this general pattern is that the nondisfigured group may be more venturesome, but the disfigured group compensates for less breadth of experience by maximizing depth of experience. Thus, a balancing effect is suggested. 4.) A supplementary analysis, which focused upon community size, disfigurement, and their interaction for three of the measures, also revealed that community size may be an important factor influencing the activities of children irrespective of disfigurement.



Burns and scalds in children--Psychological aspects., Face--Wounds and injuries--Psychological aspects.