A review of quality of life and psychosocial issues in scoliosis

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Dec 15;31(26):3027-38. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000249555.87601.fc.


Study design: Recent literature regarding the psychological impact of scoliosis was reviewed.

Objective: To determine the impact of scoliosis on health-related quality of life (HRQL), psychosocial functioning, and body image to improve patient outcomes.

Summary of background data: Adolescents and adults with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis have been known to score lower than healthy controls on HRQL measures. However, HRQL instruments may not adequately capture psychological distress experienced by patients.

Methods: Research papers concerning HRQL and psychosocial factors in patients with scoliosis were reviewed.

Results: Studies of psychosocial health and body image have revealed that functioning in these domains may affect compliance behavior and satisfaction with treatment outcomes among adolescent patients. Psychosocial and body image disturbance is less marked in patients with good social or family functioning, or patients who exercise regularly or are psychologically healthy. Adults with scoliosis generally display fewer psychological problems than adolescents. However, adults with scoliosis may experience psychosocial limitations due to poor physical health or body image disturbance. Support group membership can improve psychosocial health in adults with scoliosis.

Conclusions: Adolescent patients with scoliosis may experience psychosocial difficulties, especially while undergoing treatment for scoliosis. Interventions aimed at managing psychosocial or body image disturbances may help to ameliorate the potentially negative impact of scoliosis on these facets of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Image
  • Disabled Persons / psychology
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Scoliosis / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome