Idiopathic scoliosis is a chronic illness with several different braces used for its treatment. Brace treatment during childhood/adolescence can produce stress. There are studies supporting that it can decrease body-image perception while other studies support that it has no such effect.
The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of brace treatment in children/adolescents with scoliosis. The aim was to investigate which feelings are created by the bracing experience in children/adolescents with scoliosis and what are the children/adolescents' with scoliosis opinions of the support provided to them by health-care professionals and by their families.
We conducted interviews with the help of a semi-structured interview guide in order to address the topic of the experience of brace treatment. A convenient sample of twelve children and adolescents with scoliosis was selected from patients attending follow-up appointments at the Outpatient Scoliosis Clinics of two Greek hospitals. The data was analysed using the method of content analysis.
Patients in the sample were 10–16 years old and they were mainly females (71%). Almost all of the participants reported having to deal with stress, denial, fear, anger, and shame. They were satisfied with the information they received regarding their condition and therapy. However, the information was not accompanied by support from the health care professionals. They reported that they were receiving support mainly from their families, friends, and classmates.
The present study is contributing to the development of a better understanding of significant issues related to the experience of bracing therapy. It is clear that scoliosis children/adolescents have to be provided with support during the long period of bracing. It is apparent that those children/adolescents have unmet needs for care and health professionals and policy makers should try to find a way to address those needs.