Purpose: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) carried out a member survey to measure pediatricians' views of parental permission and notification for selected health services for two age groups of adolescents, the 13 to 15 year olds and the 16 to 17 year olds.
Methods: Through an AAP Periodic Survey, a sample of 1000 members of the AAP were sent questionnaires to fill out and return. The response rate was 77%.
Results: The majority of pediatricians in all groups examined believed parental permission and notification were important for general medical and surgical care. But for most other types of care delineated, related to substance abuse and sexuality, most pediatricians did not believe parental permission should be required, except for requests for abortion for 13-15 year olds. For several types of care most pediatricians believed parental notification should be required for 13-15 year olds. Older pediatricians, male pediatricians, and self-employed pediatricians were more apt to support both parental permission and notification for all types of care. When age, gender and self versus not self-employed were introduced together through a logistic regression procedure differences in views were accounted for by self versus not self-employed, and age and gender had no additional impact.
Conclusions: Most pediatricians supported the right of minors to seek care without parental permission for care related to substance abuse and sexuality. The majority were less likely to grant confidentiality to adolescents, particularly those 13 to 15 years.