Priorities in adolescent health care: the teenager's viewpoint

J Fam Pract. 1987 Aug;25(2):159-62.


The purpose of this study was to determine what issues teenagers want discussed or covered when they visit primary care physicians and to assess to what extent such discussion takes place. A questionnaire was administered to 1,564 students aged between 13 and 18 years in six high schools. Mean participant age was 15.3 years; 801 were male and 763 were female. Questions were drawn from both physical and psychosocial aspects of teenage life. The teenagers answered as to whether they would like to discuss the suggested topics on visits to physicians, and whether in fact such a discussion had taken place. The three topics of most interest to teenagers were physical fitness, nutrition, and growth. Teenagers wanted to discuss these topics in over 80 percent of the visits, and they indicated that actual discussion took place in just under 50 percent of the visits. Discussion of sexually transmitted disease was desired by teenagers 70 percent of the time, with a discussion rate of only 18 percent; contraception at 66 percent with a physician discussion rate of only 22 percent. If physicians discuss exercise, nutrition, and growth with teenage patients, in over 80 percent of cases they will be providing the patient with valued information. This initial dialogue will establish a base of communication that may allow for the discussion of issues teenagers often find more difficult (such as contraception, sexually transmitted disease, depression, drugs, and drinking).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent*
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Contraception
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Examination
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Suicide
  • Surveys and Questionnaires