PURPOSE: To report how youths, both with and without idiopathic scoliosis (IS), respond to questions about their self-image and perceptions of body shape. An additional purpose is to describe themes that emerged as important to youths with IS to better understand scoliosis from their perspective.
METHODS: Descriptive qualitative and quantitative methods were utilized. Subject interviews were conducted, as part of a larger cognitive interviewing study on the Spinal Appearance Questionnaire, using a cross-sectional sample of 76 females between 8 and 16 years of age with IS and who were typically developing (TD), without scoliosis.
RESULTS: IS and TD subjects revealed similar findings when asked what makes them look good versus their peers; self-image ratings were also positive. Predominant themes from open-ended responses include physical appearance, feelings, brace wear, and discomfort.
CONCLUSION: Self-image and body shape did not differ significantly between groups. The identified themes warrant further exploration as they are significant and important to youth with scoliosis.