Purpose: This study aimed to assess adolescent and parent perspectives on parent notification after disclosure of adolescent relationship abuse (ARA) to a health care provider.
Methods: A computerized survey was administered to a convenience sample of adolescents aged 14-18 years and their parents presenting to three Midwestern pediatric emergency departments. The survey assessed the acceptability of parent notification after hypothetical adolescent disclosure of different forms of ARA (i.e., physical, cyber, psychological and sexual ARA, reproductive coercion, controlling behavior, and feeling unsafe) to a health care provider. Chi-square and Fisher's exact tests were used to examine possible relationships between acceptability of parent notification and prior ARA victimization, adolescent dating relationship status, and demographic factors.
Results: One-hundred fifty adolescent-parent dyads and 53 individual adolescents participated in this study. Most adolescents and parents found it acceptable to inform parents after disclosure of any type of ARA, although acceptability was higher among parents for all types of abuse assessed. Adolescent-parent dyads were more likely to both agree that parent notification was acceptable after disclosure of physical ARA, compared with other forms of ARA. Acceptability of parent notification after some types of ARA disclosure was less common among adolescents reporting previous sexual activity, prior ARA victimization, and adolescents currently in a dating relationship.
Conclusions: Most adolescents and parents found parent notification after ARA disclosure acceptable. However, adolescents most at risk, including those who reported previous sexual activity, prior ARA victimization, and those in a dating relationship, were less likely to find parent notification acceptable. Further study to assess barriers or concerns with parent involvement is crucial to optimizing provider response after ARA disclosure.
Keywords: Adolescent health; Adolescent relationship abuse; Confidentiality.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.