Sarah Cline

Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School


Committee Member

Michelle R. Byrd, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Flora Hoodin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alida Westman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan McCarthy, Ph.D.


Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a chronic disease involving curvature of the spine that is typically diagnosed in late childhood and early adolescence. The timing of most AIS diagnoses and subsequent treatment occur at a critical point developmentally and may place strain on the parent-adolescent relationship. The present study developed a measure, The AIS Dyadic Assessment, of the parent-adolescent relationship affected by AIS. This measure assessed three aspects of the parent-adolescent relationship: Communication Skills, Emotion Regulation, and Mutual Agreement about AIS. Twenty-six female adolescents who were currently prescribed a brace as part of their AIS treatment, and their mothers, participated. Dyads in the present sample were relatively high functioning and appeared to be coping well with AIS treatment. They rated their overall communication and problem-solving skills highly and were in agreement regarding basic facts related to the daughters' AIS diagnosis and treatment. The AIS Dyadic Assessment had preliminary and tentative evidence of reliability, convergent validity, and utility. Secondary aims of the study included novel application of the most commonly used measure in AIS research, the Scoliosis Research Society Outcomes Instrument-22r, to dyadic research. Dyads were in complete agreement on this scale. Results from the study contributed to the AIS literature by providing information on the effects of family system variables on adolescents' treatment, by informing psychosocial assessment practices in research and clinical practice and by directly comparing two different modalities of data collection.

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Psychology Commons