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J Adolesc Health. 2005 Aug;37(2):94-102.

The impact of SCHIP enrollment on adolescent-provider communication.

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Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0022, USA.



Effective communication between physicians and adolescents is critical to convey health information, provide counseling and identify emerging health problems. This article addressed two questions: (a) After an adolescent enrolls in a State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), is there a change reported in communication between the adolescent and his/her health care provider; and (b) Is there a relationship between respondent's characteristics and change observed within specific content areas?


Adolescent preventive care guidelines developed by national organizations provided the study framework. Surveys were mailed to 3472 12-19-year-olds in a SCHIP; 1689 responded (response rate = 49%). Frequencies described the study population, chi-square analysis explored differences in adolescent-provider communication before and after enrollment, and multiple linear regressions were used to determine relationships between respondents' characteristics and provider communication topics.


There were substantial increases after enrollment in SCHIP in the general area of communication between adolescents and their health care providers. Specifically, the presence of a special health care need had a significant influence on most communication areas. Further, females were more likely than males to talk about sexual health (p = .049) and diet and exercise (p < or = .001); older more likely than younger to discuss sexual health (p = .026) and mental health feelings (p = .023); and white more likely than nonwhite to have better overall communication with the provider after enrollment (p = .029) but Whites also were more likely to experience more negative mental health feelings after enrollment in SCHIP (p = .029).


Practice guidelines define the content of preventive services; but, it appears that many adolescents do not receive adequate guidance from their physicians. For the group of adolescents in this study who had recently enrolled in SCHIP, there was a reported increase in their communication with their health care provider. The positive changes in communication suggest that encouraging providers and adolescents to discuss risky behaviors is a feasible, achievable goal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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