Hanging IV bag

What is the study about?

This study aims to examine scores of burn survivors from the self-reported CAGE questionnaire (Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, and Eye-opener). The CAGE questionnaire is an assessment tool used to screen for potential substance misuse. Burn survivors who misuse alcohol and/or other substances are more likely to have poorer long-term outcomes, and clinical complications following injury. Understanding the development of potential substance misuse, through examining CAGE scores, may provide useful information about this population.

What did the study find?

This study found that about one in five burn survivors screened positive for a potential pre-injury substance misuse issue. Additionally, over half (62.7%) of the ‘one in five’ group reported positive CAGE scores at a follow-up time point. These findings highlight the importance of screening and support of burn survivors for substance misuse. This is especially relevant in the first two years after burn injuries occur.

Who participated in the study?

Individuals who are burn survivors aged 18 years or older (n=466) and completed the self-reported CAGE questionnaire at two separate time points.

How was the study conducted?

This study was a retrospective study using data from the time of participants’ discharge to assess pre-injury substance misuse, and a follow-up questionnaire at 6, 12, or 24 months post-injury. Data were obtained from the Burn Model System National Database.

How can people use the results?

Individuals with burn injuries and their families can use the results of this study to better understand the CAGE assessment tool and its use in idetnifying alcohol/substance misuse in the burn survivor population. Practitioners can use these findings to inform burn injury-oriented education. The practitioners may benefit form learning about a questionnaire that may help in screening and providing for individuals with burn injuries who engage in alcohol or substance misuse.


Grant, G.G., Wolfe, E.A., Thorpe, C.R., Gibran, N.S., Carrougher, G.J., Wiechman, S.A., Holavanahalli, R., Stoddard, F.J., Sheridan, R.L., Kazis, L.E., Schneider, J.C., & Ryan, C.M. (2020). Exploring the Burn Model System National Database: Burn injuries, substance misuse, and the CAGE questionnaire. Burns, 46(3), 745-747. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.burns.2019.12.016


The contents of this quick review were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DP0082). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this quick review do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
This version of the quick review has not been reviewed by the authors.