Pain management is a challenge when treating patients with burn injuries. Understanding the behavioral and interpersonal aspects of the experience of burn pain may aid in its management. Attachment style - which influences how an individual relates to other people - is one aspect that may affect the experience of burn pain. Past research has shown a relationship between an individual's attachment style and certain types of pain and disorders. The study builds upon that past work to investigate specifically how attachment style affects the experience of acute burn pain. Participants were at least 18 years old and admitted to an American Burn Association verified burn center with burns encompassing 30% or less TBSA. Participants completed demographic questionnaires and a standardized measure of adult attachment style. Data regarding use of analgesics, daily pain scores, and burn-related information were collected through medical chart review. Participants who reported a secure attachment style required less pain medication and reported less pain compared with participants who reported an insecure attachment style. There was no difference in burn-related variables between participants with secure and insecure attachment styles, suggesting that these differences were not due to burn-related factors. Attachment, therefore, may play a role in an individual's perception of acute burn pain, which impacts analgesic requirements needed to manage the pain. These results have potential implications for the use of psychosocial interventions to reduce the experience of pain and the amount of pain medication needed to manage acute burn pain.
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