Living with visible scars: The social stigmatization of burn survivors.


  • Sana Shaukat Siddiqui BMY Health.
  • Ijaz Husain Shah Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan.
  • Mehwish Riaz HITEC-IMS University, Islamabad.
  • Qaiser Jehangir Khan CMH, Multan.



Awareness, Burn Survivors, Cross-sectional Study, Psychosocial Impact, Perceived Stigmatization, Social Support, Visible Scarring


Objective: To assess the social stigmatism, in adult burn survivors with visible scars, that they face in the society. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Department of Plastic Surgery and Burns, Sheikh Zayed Medical College and Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan. Period: May 2022 to April 2023. Material & Methods: The study included 64 participants aged 16 to 55 years who were awaiting reconstructive surgery and had experienced visible scarring from burns for over six months. Data on perceived stigmatization were collected using the Perceived Stigmatization Questionnaire (PSQ). The demographic profile, burn characteristics, and socio-economic factors of the participants were also analyzed. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 27, including post-stratification chi-square tests. Results: Of the 64 participants, 87.5% reported experiencing perceived stigmatization, with gender being a significant factor. Notably, 91.7% of females reported stigmatization, compared to 75% of males. Marital status, educational level, scarred body parts, visibility of scars in public, and age at the time of burn were also strongly associated with perceived stigmatization. The study revealed the mean scores for three domains: Absence of friendly behavior (2.58 ± 0.64), Confused/Staring behavior (3.15 ± 0.57), and Hostile behavior (2.19 ± 0.72). Conclusion: This study underscores the prevalence of perceived stigmatization among burn survivors, particularly those with visible scars on their face and hands. The findings emphasize the importance of social support and awareness campaigns in mitigating these challenges. Greater efforts are needed to address the psychosocial issues faced by burn survivors and promote empathy and inclusivity in society. Further research is crucial to understanding the experiences of burn survivors from diverse backgrounds.

Author Biographies

Sana Shaukat Siddiqui, BMY Health.

MBBS, FCPS (Community Medicine), Research Consultant, 

Ijaz Husain Shah, Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan.

MBBS, FCPS (Plastic Surgery) Professor and HOD Plastic Surgery. 

Mehwish Riaz, HITEC-IMS University, Islamabad.

MBBS, FCPS (Community Medicine) Assistant Professor. 

Qaiser Jehangir Khan, CMH, Multan.

MBBS, Demonstrator Community Medicine,