The experience of friendship for young adults severely burned as children: A phenomenological investigation

Suzanne Holm, Mark A. Hector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of this study was to understand the meaning of friendship to young adults who survived severe childhood burn injuries, as generated through the lived experiences of the young adults. The study is a phenomenological exploration of the subjective experience of friendship as described by ten young adults who survived severe pediatric burn injuries. The researcher conducted in-depth, nondirective interviews, then transcribed them verbatim and analyzed them using a phenomenological research methodology. Interpretive analysis revealed the following five interrelated themes of the experience of friendship: (a) How Society Looks At Me, (b) How I Deal With It, (c) They Understand or They Don't Understand, (d) Making Friends, and (e) Friends. These themes were contextualized within the frame of two experiential grounds: (a) Who I Am and (b) Changes over Time. The ground of Who I Am reflected the participants' sense of personal identity and permeated every aspect of the friendship experience they described. It included the participants' statements about themselves as different or not different from the people around them and their rich descriptions of personal journeys through growth and change toward integration of their scars into their identities. The ground of Changes over Time represented the temporal context in which the experience of friendship occurred for these participants and became apparent through their many references to change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-81
Number of pages2
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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