Adolescent preventive health care: what do parents want?

J Pediatr. 2009 Nov;155(5):689-94.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.05.029. Epub 2009 Jul 29.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adolescent Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child
  • Confidentiality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • United States