Primary care providers' beliefs about teen and parent barriers to depression care

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2014 Oct;35(8):534-8. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000089.


Objective: Only one-third of US adolescents with depression obtain treatment for depression. Teen and parent barriers differ, but both contribute to low treatment rates. Primary care providers (PCPs) may be able to elicit and address such barriers, but little is known about their perceptions of teen and parent barriers, and whether they recognize these differences.

Methods: We administered a survey to 58 PCPs assessing their perceptions of the importance of specific barriers to depression care for teens and parents using McNemar's test to examine differences.

Results: Most PCPs believed barriers for parents included difficulty making appointments, worry about what others would think, and cost. PCPs believed barriers for teens included not wanting treatment and worry about what others would think. PCPs believed parents and teens differed in the extent to which they would perceive cost, difficulty in making appointments, and not wanting care as a barrier (p < .001).

Conclusions: Primary care providers recognize that teens and parents have different barriers to care, but may have discordant perceptions of the importance of certain barriers for teens and their parents. PCPs may need to probe parents and teens individually about barriers, which impede depression care to enhance shared decision making and treatment uptake.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Physicians, Primary Care / psychology*
  • Physicians, Primary Care / statistics & numerical data