Surgery for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is painful and stressful and has a long and demanding recovery. The purpose of this study was to examine pre- and postoperative avoidant/vigilant coping and long-term activity outcomes through 9 months postsurgery for adolescents (11-18 years, N = 113) undergoing scoliosis surgery. Generally, more vigilant copers (preoperatively and 1 month postoperatively) participated in more activities (usual, new, and social) and had higher academic performance during recovery. Several moderation effects indicated these relationships were stronger for older adolescents and those more internal in locus of control. Adolescents were more vigilant in the hospital, became more avoidant 1 month after surgery, and remained at these levels 6 months postsurgery. Understanding coping processes and individual factors is necessary to develop interventions to help adolescents cope successfully with recovery demands.
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