Assessment of health needs and willingness to utilize health care resources of adolescents in a suburban population

J Pediatr. 1983 Mar;102(3):456-60. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(83)80677-5.


We investigated whether adolescents living in a middle-class suburb believed that their health needs were being met, and the extent to which they were willing to utilize local health care resources for a range of problems. Self-administered, anonymous questionnaires were completed by 649 students in grades 9 through 12. The mean age of respondents was 15.4 years; 52% were female, and 95% white. They had ready access to medical care: 90% used a specific private physician. From a list of 15 health problems, 60% indicated that they had seen a health provider for at least one of them, most often for stomach pains (22%), headaches (18%), and coughing (16%). From an identical list, 48% indicated that there was at least one problem for which they had never seen a health provider but would like to, most often for a weight problem (14%), birth control (10%), and emotional upset (9%). Although 20% regularly used illegal drugs, 24% were sexually active, and 38% thought they had a weight problem, only 1%, 4%, and 10%, respectively, had sought care for these matters. A majority of students would not choose to go to a private physician for care related to sexuality, substance abuse, or emotional upset, and would not be willing to seek care for these problems with their parents' knowledge. Ready access to private primary care did not assure attention to important health needs among these suburban adolescents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Body Image
  • Contraception
  • Female
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Health Services Research*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York City
  • Risk
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Suburban Population*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires