Confidentiality Matters but How Do We Improve Implementation in Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Care?

J Adolesc Health. 2019 Sep;65(3):315-322. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.03.021. Epub 2019 Jun 18.


Confidentiality protections are a key component of high-quality adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care. Research has shown that adolescents value confidentiality and are more likely to seek care and provide honest information when confidentiality protections are implemented. However, many adolescents do not receive confidential SRH care. We synthesize studies of adolescents, parents, and providers to identify confidentiality-related factors that may explain why adolescents do not seek care or receive confidential services when they do access care. We present themes relevant to each population that address individual-level knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as clinic-level characteristics such as protocols, billing mechanisms, and clinic type. These findings have the potential to inform intervention efforts to improve the delivery of confidential SRH care for young people.

Keywords: Adolescent; Confidentiality; Healthcare; Sexual and reproductive health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Parental Notification*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Reproductive Health Services / organization & administration
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology