Stigma perspective of siblings of children with a major childhood burn injury



Carlee Lehna, PhD, APRN, School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292. Tel: 502-852-3913; Fax: 502-852-8783; E-mail:



To understand the stigma perspective of siblings of children with major burn injury.

Data sources

A mixed method, qualitative-dominant study was conducted. The life story method was used for the qualitative portion. Only narratives from those family members describing the sibling's appearance change were used (N = 18 participants).


Stigma experienced by siblings was first described by parents or noninjured siblings; they described how the sibling with changed appearance was stared at, ridiculed, or teased when they entered a new social situation. Only when specifically asked did the children with burn injury talk about their problems, saying, “This always happens when I go somewhere new.”

Implications for practice

Children with changed appearance focused on normalizing their lives in a positive way. Oftentimes, it was a parent or noninjured sibling who would describe manifestations of stigma and ways they tried to protect the child with burn injury.