Aims: To explore the impact of bracing on the perceptions of body image, happiness and satisfaction of adolescents with scoliosis.
Design: The study was designed as compare of 134 girls and 16 boys who wore a Boston type brace for scoliosis treatment and a control group of 99 healthy girls and 51 healthy boys. All them were secondary school pupils living in Athens Greece and were interviewed. A semi-structured schedule included general questions, and the Piers-Harris scale was used. Data were analysed using the SPSS/PC+ software, and descriptive statistics, factor analysis and the non-parametric Mann-Whitney U-test. Statistical significance was set at P=0.05 or less.
Results: The scoliosis group had a poorer perception of body image in comparison to the control group (P=0.048), while boys with scoliosis (P=0.030) had a better perception of body image than girls with scoliosis. Girls with scoliosis had a statistically significant difference (P=0.0388) in perception of happiness and satisfaction, in comparison with girls in the control group. Cohabitation with the mother seemed to be negatively correlated with body image, happiness and satisfaction perceptions because adolescents with scoliosis who were not living with their mother had a better body image perception (P=0.027) as well as better perceptions of happiness and satisfaction (P=0.047). Nevertheless, only 5% of those with scoliosis declared that they had opportunities to discuss their feelings and problems with health professionals, while 90% of them declared that they wanted to have more opportunities to do this.
Conclusion: Adolescents with scoliosis face problems during bracing and they need to be supported by health care professionals.