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

Michele H. Salisbury, Lynda L. LaMontagne, Joseph T. Hepworth, Frances Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-230
Number of pages19
JournalClinical nursing research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Adolescents
  • Coping
  • Parental stress
  • Scoliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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