Quality of Life in Women With Idiopathic Scoliosis

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Study Design.

The health-related quality of life of 226 female patients with idiopathic scoliosis was compared with that in age-matched general population norms.


To describe and characterize health-related quality of life in women with idiopathic scoliosis, taking into account age, Cobb angle, and brace use.

Summary of Background Data.

Scoliosis may lead to multiple physical and psychosocial impairments depending on its severity. Previous studies have assessed generic health measures, functional status, body image, and self-image. Health-related quality of life data from patients with idiopathic scoliosis are still lacking.


Women with idiopathic scoliosis completed an age-appropriate health-related quality of life questionnaire (either the 36-Item Short-Form Health Status Survey, SF-36, or the Berner Questionnaire for Well-Being). The results from this sample were compared with general population norms. In univariate and multivariate analyses it was determined whether age, Cobb angle, and brace use had an impact on health-related quality of life.


Compared with the age-matched general population norm, juvenile patients with idiopathic scoliosis were unhappier with their lives (P = 0.001). They reported more physical complaints (P < 0.001) and had lower self-esteem (P = 0.01) and higher depression scores (P = 0.021). Adult patients reported more psychologic (P < 0.001) and physical impairment than in the population norm (P < 0.001). These results were largely independent of age and Cobb angle.


The results show that health-related quality of life can be impaired in patients with idiopathic scoliosis. Therefore, the psychosocial situation should be taken into account in the treatment of these patients.

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