Adolescents' and Young Adults' Reports of Barriers to Confidential Health Care and Receipt of Contraceptive Services

J Adolesc Health. 2018 Jan;62(1):36-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.10.011. Epub 2017 Nov 20.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe adolescents' and young adults' concerns about confidential reproductive health care and experience with time alone with a provider, and examine the association of these confidentiality issues with receipt of contraceptive services.

Methods: Data from the 2013 to 2015 National Survey of Family Growth were analyzed using Poisson regression to describe 15- to 25-year-olds' confidential reproductive health-care concerns and time alone with a provider at last health-care visit according to sociodemographic characteristics. We also assessed whether confidentiality issues were associated with obtaining contraceptive services among females.

Results: Concerns about confidential reproductive health care were less common among 15- to 17-year-olds who were covered by Medicaid compared to their parents' private insurance (adjusted risk ratio [ARR] = .61, confidence interval [CI] .41-.91) and had high-school graduate mothers compared to college-graduate mothers (ARR = .68, CI .47-.99), and were more common among those who lived with neither parent compared to living with both parents (ARR = 2.0, CI 1.27-3.16). Time alone with a provider was more common among black girls than white girls (ARR = 1.57, CI 1.11-2.22) and less common among girls covered by Medicaid than those with parents' private insurance (ARR = .72, CI .56-.92). Time alone was less common among boys living with neither parent compared to living with two parents (ARR = .48, CI .25-.91) and with high-school graduate mothers compared to college-graduate mothers (ARR = .59, CI .42-.84). Among sexually experienced girls and women, confidentiality concerns were associated with a reduced likelihood of having received a contraceptive service in the past year.

Conclusions: Greater efforts are needed to support young Americans in receiving confidential care.

Keywords: Adolescent health; Adolescent pregnancy; Confidentiality; Contraception; Female; Male.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Confidentiality*
  • Contraceptive Agents*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Male
  • Reproductive Health*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents