Adolescent preventive health care: what do parents want?

Amanda F Dempsey, Dianne D Singer, Sarah J Clark, Matthew M Davis
Journal of Pediatrics 2009, 155 (5): 689-94.e1

OBJECTIVE: To understand parental opinions about which topics should be discussed during adolescent preventive health visits and how best to incorporate adolescent confidentiality into these visits.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional, web-based survey of a national sample of 1025 parents of adolescents.

RESULTS: Response rate was 71%. From a list of 18 possible topics, the 3 most frequently selected as being "very important for the doctor to discuss during adolescent well child examinations" were "diet/nutrition" (75%), "exercise/sports" (67%), and "physical changes of puberty" (60%). There was variability in topic popularity by parents' race/ethnicity and gender and by adolescents' age, health status, and gender. Most parents (66%) believed it was "very/somewhat" important for adolescents to have private time with the doctor during these visits, yet a substantial proportion of parents (46%) preferred that the doctor disclose to them the confidential information obtained during these private encounters.

CONCLUSIONS: Parents find numerous topics important for discussion during well adolescent health care visits suggesting that parents might value a broad range of preventive care services for adolescents. However, some parents appear conflicted about incorporating adolescent confidentiality into prevention-focused visits.

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