Purpose: To gain a more in-depth understanding of the relationship between perceived severity of symptoms and STD-related care-seeking behavior among adolescent African-American females in Baltimore City.
Methods: Twenty-one female adolescents were interviewed in depth to elicit their experiences with an STD in the previous 3 months. Comparisons were made between those who sought care on account of their symptoms and those who did not.
Results: High perceived seriousness about symptoms has both cognitive and emotional components that may function independently to either promote or delay STD-related care seeking.
Conclusions: Both cognitive and emotional responses to STD symptoms must be considered when examining the effect of perceived severity on adolescents' STD-related care-seeking behaviors.