Background: There are no data on social acceptability of scoliosis. Aim. To elicit evidence-based opinions on therapeutic strategies for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in a sample of families with not affected children, so to understand the social perception of this issue.
Methods: Design. Cross-sectional study. Setting. Secondary schools in 4 northern Italian regions. Participants. Parents of children in the age group at risk of and not affected by scoliosis (Pre-test group = 100, Study group = 3,162). Interventions. Questionnaire: five specific and evidence-based questions regarding scoliosis treatment options and a socio-demographic section. Methodology. "Role-playing" in which it was required to normal people to answer what they would have chosen if they had been in the situation proposed. Main outcome measures. Perception of acceptability of treatments for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in the general population (social acceptability).
Results: The families support the use of screening (94.8%) at school, immediate bracing (76.4%) for scoliosis with a 60% risk of progression, but also therapeutic exercises (86.9%) in cases with a 25% risk of progression.
Conclusion: There is a growing tendency to consider not only the efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency of treatments, but also their acceptability. This patient-centred aspect is especially more important in areas (like adolescent idiopathic scoliosis) in which there is some evidence on the efficacy of treatments, but not strong and definitive (RCTs). Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis treatments should thus be carefully considered also in the light of their social acceptability.