Parents' views on confidentiality and health advice for adolescents in general practice
Background: Confidentiality is an important issue for adolescents when using health services, but many health professionals consider objections from parents an obstacle to providing confidential care for this age group. Whereas health professionals and young people consider general practice an appropriate setting for adolescent health promotion, little is known about parents' views. Objectives: The main objective was to explore the views of parents of adolescents regarding confidentiality and the role of general practice in promoting teenage health. A secondary objective was to investigate parents' self-reported health behaviours, and their awareness of such behaviours in their own adolescent children. Methods: Postal questionnaire sent to the parents or guardians (n = 631) of all 14–15-year-old patients on two general practice registers in Hertfordshire, UK. Results: Few parents (2%) were aware of practice policy on confidentiality, and many (48%) did not think that adolescents aged under 16 years should always have the right to confidential consultations. Most parents (64%) considered general practice an appropriate setting for health advice for adolescents and a fifth of them said that there was at least one health-related topic they would like to discuss with a general practitioner (GP) or nurse in relation to their adolescents' health. Parents' own health risk behaviours were correlated with those reported for their children. Conclusion: Information about confidentiality and general practice-based health services for young people needs to be provided clearly to parents as well as to adolescents, particularly as some parents of adolescents may have reservations about confidentiality. The majority of parents consider general practice to be an appropriate setting for adolescent health promotion.(Published Online March 29 2007)
(Received July 2006)
(Accepted December 2006)
Key Words: adolescent; confidentiality; general practice; health promotion.
c1 Address for correspondence: Josefine Magnusson, Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC), University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, UK. Email: email@example.com