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J Adolesc Health. 2009 Jun;44(6):520-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.12.016. Epub 2009 Mar 12.

Are adolescents being screened for emotional distress in primary care?

Author information

  • 1Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California Street, Suite 245, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA. Elizabeth.Ozer@ucsf.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To assess primary care providers' rates of screening for emotional distress among adolescent patients.

METHODS:

Secondary data analysis utilizing data from: (1) well visits in pediatric clinics within a managed care plan in California, and (2) the 2003 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), a state population sample. The Pediatric clinic sample included 1089 adolescent patients, ages 13 to 17, who completed a survey about provider screening immediately upon exiting a well visit. The CHIS sample included 899 adolescents, ages 13 to 17, who had a routine physical exam within the past 3 months. As part of the survey, adolescents answered a question about whether they had talked with their provider about their emotions at the time of the exam. Logistic regressions, controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and adolescent depressive symptoms were performed.

RESULTS:

About one-third of adolescents reported a discussion of emotional health. Females were significantly more likely to be screened than males (36% vs. 30% in clinic; 37% vs. 26% in CHIS); as were older and Latino adolescents in the clinic sample. Although 27% of teens endorsed emotional distress, distress was not a significant predictor of talking to a provider about emotions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Primary care clinicians/systems need to better utilize the primary care visit to screen adolescents for emotional health.

Comment in

PMID:
19465315
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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