Last updated on September 2018

Bracing Compliance and Personality Traits: A Compliance Assessment Program for Scoliosis and Clubfeet


Brief description of study

While studies have shown that better outcomes are associated with brace wear compliance in the scoliosis and clubfoot populations, compliance rates are still poor. Reasons identified by patients, parents and research for not complying with prescribed brace wear include the inconvenience or irritability of the child when in the brace in the case of clubfeet, and fear of looking different from peers, clothes not fitting properly, or discomfort in the case of scoliosis. While reasons for noncompliance are many and can be complex, there has been some research to indicate that personality traits may play a role in brace wear compliance.

The primary purpose of the proposed study is to determine if personality traits are related to compliance patterns for individuals undergoing brace treatment for AIS or Clubfeet.

Detailed Study Description

Bracing compliance, or the ability of patients to tolerate prescribed bracing regimens, has been shown to be related to the success of treatment. In pediatric orthopedics, bracing is used as one treatment option for a number of diagnoses and reasons. Two populations that are commonly prescribed bracing as part of the treatment paradigm are infants with clubfeet following Ponseti casting and adolescents with scoliosis.

For adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis, bracing is used to stop or slow progression of curves with the hope to delay or prevent the need for surgical intervention. Research has shown that bracing significantly decreased curve progression in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, and that the benefits of bracing increased with longer hours of brace wear.

Likewise, bracing is common practice for treating infants with clubfeet. All infants with clubfeet at SHC-Lexington are prescribed a bracing regimen following the completion of their Ponseti casting protocol. Previous research has shown that noncompliance with brace wear is strongly associated with recurrence of clubfeet in this population. Recurrence often leads to surgical intervention for these infants. Previous Kosair funded research conducted at SHC-Lexington investigated actual brace wear rates compared to the prescribed wear time in a sample of infants with clubfeet. In that study, brace wear rate significantly declined in the first three months of wear. That study did not look at factors related to the compliance with brace wear.

While studies have shown that better outcomes are associated with brace wear compliance in the scoliosis and clubfoot populations, compliance rates are still poor. Reasons identified by patients, parents and research for not complying with prescribed brace wear include the inconvenience or irritability of the child when in the brace in the case of clubfeet, and fear of looking different from peers, clothes not fitting properly, or discomfort in the case of scoliosis. While reasons for noncompliance are many and can be complex, there has been some research to indicate that personality traits may play a role in brace wear compliance. Work done by Rivett looked at personality traits of scoliotic girls who wore a Cheneau brace (a brace not commonly prescribed in North America and the United Kingdom) and found that those who were compliant with their bracing prescription tended to be more emotionally mature, stable and realistic than the noncompliant group. Although not well studied, personality traits of infants with clubfoot and their caregiver might similarly affect their compliance with brace wear.

Past work has shown that when braces are worn as prescribed, treatment outcomes are improved in those with scoliosis and clubfoot, yet bracing compliance is a consistent problem in both populations. With adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and clubfoot being the largest and third largest populations seen at SHC-Lexington, 3700 active patients and 2500 active patients, respectively, it is imperative that we address brace wear compliance in order to offer the best treatment outcome possible. At SHC-Lexington, during 2013 approximately 30 AIS patients and 50 infants with clubfoot were prescribed braces for the first time.

The primary purpose of the proposed study is to determine if personality traits are related to compliance patterns for individuals undergoing brace treatment for AIS or Clubfeet. This pilot project will examine different measures used to assess personality traits of adolescents with AIS, babies with clubfeet and their parent/guardian/caregiver. Using these identified measures, the association between traits and degree of compliance with the bracing prescriptions will be evaluated. If certain personality traits are identified as indicators for noncompliance, then additional support should be offered to those patients.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02755766

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Henry Iwinski, MD

Shriners Hospital for Children
Lexington, KY United States
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