Parents' health and demographic characteristics predict noncompliance with well-child visits

J Am Board Fam Pract. 2004 Sep-Oct;17(5):324-31. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.17.5.324.


Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate factors related to well-child visit noncompliance in an ethnically diverse family practice clinic population.

Methods: Participants included 146 parents (131 mothers and 15 fathers) of children aged 0 to 24 months who received care at a St. Paul residency clinic. Participants completed telephone surveys that asked about their demographic characteristics, attitudes toward well-child visits, whether the most recent planned well-child visit had been kept, and their own and their child's health characteristics.

Results: All participants thought that well-child visits were important, with immunizations being the highest rated reason for importance. Fourteen percent of parents said they had missed a recent well-child visit, mostly because they forgot. More than three fourths of parents believed visit reminders were helpful, and the preferred type of reminder was a telephone call. Noncompliance with well-child visits was associated with the parent's depressive symptoms, transportation difficulties, working at a job, having private (vs public) health insurance, and being older (vs younger).

Conclusions: These results suggest that well-child visit compliance might be enhanced by visit reminders and improved access to transportation. The relationship of well-child visit noncompliance to parental depressive symptoms, if verified in other populations, points to a need for greater surveillance of children/families who do not schedule or keep well-child visits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Demography
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Refusal / ethnology*
  • Treatment Refusal / statistics & numerical data