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The impact of patient self assessment of deformity on HRQL in adults with scoliosis

Megan J Tones1* and Nathan D Moss2

Author Affiliations

1 Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, 4059, QLD, Australia

2 Queensland University of Technology, Beams Road, Carseldine, 4064, QLD, Australia

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Scoliosis 2007, 2:14  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-2-14

Published: 15 October 2007



Body image and HRQL are significant issues for patients with scoliosis due to cosmetic deformity, physical and psychological symptoms, and treatment factors. A selective review of scoliosis literature revealed that self report measures of body image and HRQL share unreliable correlations with radiographic measures and clinician recommendations for surgery. However, current body image and HRQL measures do not indicate which aspects of scoliosis deformity are the most distressing for patients. The WRVAS is an instrument designed to evaluate patient self assessment of deformity, and may show some promise in identifying aspects of deformity most troubling to patients. Previous research on adolescents with scoliosis supports the use of the WRVAS as a clinical tool, as the instrument shares strong correlations with radiographic measures and quality of life instruments. There has been limited use of this instrument on adult populations.


The WRVAS and the SF-36v2, a HRQL measure, were administered to 71 adults with scoliosis, along with a form to report age and gender. Preliminary validation analyses were performed on the WRVAS (floor and ceiling effects, internal consistency and collinearity, correlations with the SF-36v2, and multiple regression with the WRVAS total score as the predictor, and SF-36v2 scores as outcomes).


The psychometric properties of the WRVAS were acceptable. Older participants perceived their deformities as more severe than younger participants. More severe deformities were associated with lower scores on the Physical Component Summary Score of the SF-36v2. Total WRVAS score also predicted Physical Component Summary scores.


The results of the current study indicate that the WRVAS is a reliable tool to use with adult patients, and that patient self assessment of deformity shared a relationship with physical rather than psychological aspects of HRQL. The current and previous studies concur that revision of the WRVAS is necessary to more accurately represent the diversity of scoliosis deformities. Ability to identify disturbing aspects of deformity could potentially be improved by evaluating each WRVAS items against indicators of pain, physical/psychosocial function, and self image from previous measures such as the SRS, SF-36 or BSSQ-deformity.