Spinal appearance questionnaire: Factor analysis, scoring, reliability, and validity testing

Leah Y. Carreon, James O. Sanders, David W. Polly, Daniel J. Sucato, Stefan Parent, Marjolaine Roy-Beaudry, Jeffrey Hopkins, Anna McClung, Kelly R. Bratcher, Beverly E. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Study Design.: Cross sectional. Objective.: This study presents the factor analysis of the Spinal Appearance Questionnaire (SAQ) and its psychometric properties. Summary of Background Data.: Although the SAQ has been administered to a large sample of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) treated surgically, its psychometric properties have not been fully evaluated. This study presents the factor analysis and scoring of the SAQ and evaluates its psychometric properties. Methods.: The SAQ and the Scoliosis Research Society-22 (SRS-22) were administered to AIS patients who were being observed, braced or scheduled for surgery. Standard demographic data and radiographic measures including Lenke type and curve magnitude were also collected. Results.: Of the 1802 patients, 83% were female; with a mean age of 14.8 years and mean initial Cobb angle of 55.8° (range, 0°-123°). From the 32 items of the SAQ, 15 loaded on two factors with consistent and significant correlations across all Lenke types. There is an Appearance (items 1-10) and an Expectations factor (items 12-15). Responses are summed giving a range of 5 to 50 for the Appearance domain and 5 to 20 for the Expectations domain. The Cronbach's α was 0.88 for both domains and Total score with a test-retest reliability of 0.81 for Appearance and 0.91 for Expectations. Correlations with major curve magnitude were higher for the SAQ Appearance and SAQ Total scores compared to correlations between the SRS Appearance and SRS Total scores. The SAQ and SRS-22 Scores were statistically significantly different in patients who were scheduled for surgery compared to those who were observed or braced. Conclusion.: The SAQ is a valid measure of self-image in patients with AIS with greater correlation to curve magnitude than SRS Appearance and Total score. It also discriminates between patients who require surgery from those who do not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1240-E1244
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 15 2011


  • Spinal Appearance Questionnaire
  • dolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • factor analysis
  • outcomes
  • reliability study
  • validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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