Parents' self-identified stressors and coping strategies during adolescents' spinal surgery experiences

Clin Nurs Res. 2007 Aug;16(3):212-30. doi: 10.1177/1054773807302732.


Spinal fusion surgery for idiopathic scoliosis during adolescence is a tremendous stressor for parents. This study investigated parents' pre- and postoperative stressors and their coping strategies. Ninety-two parents identified their predominant stressor and completed the Ways of Coping Questionnaire during their adolescent's preoperative clinic visit and 77 completed this procedure 4 days postoperatively. Results showed that primary stressors were parental role loss (28.26%), possibility of poor surgical outcomes (28.26%), and uncertainty about successful recovery (27.17%) preoperatively, and concerns about pain (32.47%) and parental role loss (32.47%) postoperatively. The greatest increase from pre- to postoperative periods occurred in concerns about pain. Parents used both emotion-focused and problem-focused coping strategies with significant increases postoperatively in confrontive coping, planful problem solving, and positive reappraisal and significant decreases in self-control and seeking social support. Providers should target interventions to alleviate stress and bolster coping for parents.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Scoliosis / nursing
  • Scoliosis / psychology
  • Scoliosis / surgery*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires