Understanding the role of perceived severity in STD-related care-seeking delays

J Adolesc Health. 2005 Jul;37(1):69-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2004.07.018.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Baltimore
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / classification*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / psychology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / therapy
  • Time Factors