Adolescent health care: perspectives of Victorian general practitioners

Med J Aust. 1995 Jul 3;163(1):16-8. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1995.tb126081.x.


Objectives: To assess general practitioners' (GPs') views of adolescents as a discrete patient group with specific developmental health care needs; to document GPs' perceived knowledge of and competence in adolescent health care; and to clarify the barriers GPs perceive to effective delivery of such care.

Design: Qualitative research.

Methods: Stratified sampling generated a sample of 57 GPs from rural and urban divisions of general practice. Focus group discussions and individual interviews were recorded and transcripts were analysed.

Results: Thirty-three GPs (62%) reported that adolescents made up 10% or more of their weekly consultations. Although 10 GPs defined adolescents by developmental criteria, 47 had an incomplete understanding of the developmental aspects of adolescence. Most GPs (43) had some concerns about their knowledge of and competence in delivering adolescent health care and 52 stated that they had had little or no formal training in adolescent health. The participants perceived a range of barriers to effective health care provision, including issues of confidentiality, communication and cost.

Conclusions: Changes are needed in the Medicare card and rebate systems to ensure improved access to affordable, confidential care for adolescents. Our results also support the incorporation of important adolescent health care issues in undergraduate and postgraduate medical training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / standards*
  • Adolescent Medicine* / education
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Victoria