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Pediatrics. 2001 May;107(5):1100-7.

Improving the delivery of adolescent clinical preventive services through skills-based training.

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Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0503,



To examine the efficacy of skills-based training workshops on primary care providers' screening and counseling practices with adolescents during routine outpatient well visits.


Sixty-three primary care providers in outpatient pediatric departments within a managed health care organization participated in two 4-hour workshops on clinical preventive services for adolescents. The workshops focused on adolescent health, confidentiality, screening, and anticipatory guidance/brief counseling for 5 risk behaviors including: helmet and seatbelt use, tobacco use, alcohol use, and sexual behavior. A pre/posttest design was used to assess clinicians' screening and counseling practices during the pretraining and posttraining periods. Independent adolescent reports of clinicians' practices were obtained from 2 samples of 14- to 16-year-old adolescents immediately after their routine well visit in the outpatient clinics. One sample of adolescents reported during a pretraining period and a separate sample reported during a period after the training.


Adolescent reports indicated that after the training workshops, the average percentage of adolescents screened by their primary care providers increased significantly for seatbelt use (from mean 38% to 56%), helmet use (from mean 27% to 45%), tobacco use (from mean 64% to 76%), alcohol use (from mean 59% to 76%), and sexual behavior (from mean 61% to 75%). Additionally, the average percentage of adolescents offered brief counseling by their clinicians increased significantly after training in the areas of seatbelt use (from mean 36% to 51%), helmet use (from mean 25% to 43%), and sexual behavior (from mean 42% to 58%). Improvement after the training in brief counseling for tobacco use was marginally significant (from mean 60% to 69%) and for alcohol use was not significant, although there was an increase. Clinicians also significantly increased their discussion of the limits of confidentiality with their adolescent patients after the training workshops (from mean 32% to 45%).


This study offers strong support for the efficacy of skills-based training for primary care providers as a method for increasing screening and counseling practices with adolescents. The present findings suggest that with appropriate skills-based training, practicing clinicians can implement several of the national guidelines that direct them to provide preventive services for multiple behaviors in a routine outpatient visit. Screening and counseling in these visits are important in the early identification, detection, and prevention of behaviors associated with the primary adolescent morbidities and mortalities. Thus, enhancing the delivery of clinical preventive services is an important step in the prevention of untoward health outcomes for youth.

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