The impact of assault by vitriolage on quality of life: integrative review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


Aims: To analyse quality of life post vitriolage and explore factors affecting an individual's everyday functioning after an acid attack. Design: Integrative review. Data Sources: Articles (N = 570) retrieved from Medline, CINAHL Embase and Psychinfo between 2004–2017. Reference chaining and hand-searching yielded 12 further articles. A total 12 articles were reviewed. Review Methods: Whittemore and Knalf (2005) Journal of Advanced Nursing, 52, 546–553. Results: Five themes were identified; contextual factors, physical wounds, psychological wounds, social wounds, and legal factors, as demonstrated by a conceptual model exploring traumatic events experienced by survivors. Conclusion: The event, the burn injury itself, scarring and ocular damage are core factors that impair quality of life. Patients find it difficult to reintegrate into society following the assault and discrepancies between medico-legal and social services further prevent them from achieving their pre-morbid level of functioning. Nurses can use the biopsychosocial findings of this review to provide effective care for those assaulted by acid. It also provides a basis of discussion and application to other permanently disfiguring conditions and intentional injuries. Impact: This review has found survivors of acid assaults experience legal, physical, psychological, and social problems. Findings suggest that no single person will have the same experiences since the burden of injury is dependent on socio-cultural and contextual factors rather than the degree of injury alone. Inadequate coordination between multidisciplinary services hinders reintegration into society; causing permanent traumatization for some survivors. This review can assist nurses in understanding how acid assaults impact on quality of life to enable more holistic care provision.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2461-2477
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number11
Early online date5 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • integrative review, nursing, acid assault, acid attack, acid burn, acid throwing, chemical burns, intentional violence, burns, quality of life