Adolescents spending time alone with pediatricians during routine visits: Perspectives of parents in a primary care clinic

Victoria A. Miller, Elizabeth Friedrich, J. Felipe García-españa, Jessica H. Mirman, Carol A. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

To increase understanding of parental perspectives on time alone and of factors that influence adolescent communication with physicians in a pediatric clinic.

The sample consisted of 91 parents of adolescents aged 14–17 years who attended a well child visit at one primary care pediatric practice and completed a 2-week follow-up phone call as part of a larger study on adolescent health and communication. Parents reported whether their child met alone with the pediatrician, rated the importance of him or her having time alone with the physician, and responded to open-ended questions regarding barriers and facilitators of adolescent-physician communication. Bivariate and multivariate analyses tested associations of parent and adolescent characteristics with perceived parental importance of time alone. We conducted content analyses of responses to open-ended questions.

Slightly more than half of parents (n = 53, 58%) indicated that it was “a lot” important for their adolescents to meet alone with the pediatrician; parents of males were more likely than parents of females to select this highest rating (73% vs. 43%, χ2(1) =  8.34, p = .004; adjusted odds ratio 4.88, 95% confidence interval 1.84–12.96). Responses to open-ended questions identified numerous adolescent, parent, and provider factors that parents perceived to influence adolescent-physician communication during well child visits, such as preparation for visit, rapport and familiarity with the pediatrician, privacy concerns, time alone with the pediatrician, emotional comfort, trust, and support.

Most parents thought time alone was highly important for their own adolescent in a primary care setting, and parents described additional strategies to facilitate adolescent communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-285
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
Early online date7 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • adolescent
  • primary care
  • communication
  • parents
  • health services
  • confidentiality


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