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J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2007 Jun;20(3):173-8.

Communication with our teens: associations between confidential service and parent-teen communication.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



Many recent attempts have been made to eliminate health services minors can receive without parental consent or notification. One argument is that these "confidential" services undermine the parent-teen relationship. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether confidential services impact adolescent's communication with parents about their health.


This cross-sectional study included 59 adolescents (ages 12-21) seeking health services at an urban teen clinic in Minneapolis, MN. Participants were divided based on reasons for presenting at the clinic; confidential or non-confidential services. The main outcome variables were the following: discussion of clinic visit with parent, discussion of reason for clinic visit with parent, and communication with parent if diagnosed with a potentially serious health condition.


The two groups were equally divided; 42.4% came for non-confidential services and 57.6% came for confidential services. Of the 59 participants, 69.5% told their parents they were coming to clinic. However, only 43.1% reported they would not tell their parent if they had a serious health problem; there was an equal split between the confidential services and non-confidential services groups. A statistical difference was not found between the confidential services and non-confidential services groups for any of the outcome variables.


Obtaining confidential services was not a barrier to discussion with parents about clinic visit, reasons for coming to clinic, or telling their parent if they had a serious health care problem. Clinicians should continue to advocate for confidential services while encouraging open communication between adolescents and their parents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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