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J Adolesc Health Care. 1990 Jul;11(4):289-94.

Knowledge and attitudes of health professionals toward adolescent health care.

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Adolescent Health Program, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.


The rising concern over the competency of health care professionals in the United States to meet the health needs of adolescents was the impetus for a national survey of 3066 physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, and psychologists. The survey explored perceptions of training and competency regarding 16 dimensions of adolescent health care. Major deficits were noted for each discipline. For physicians, self-perceived limitations were in the areas of eating disorders, learning disabilities, chronic illness, and delinquent behavior. The same limitations were also mentioned by nurses. Over half of the psychologists reported deficits related to the psychological sequelae of sexual concerns, sexual orientation conflict, eating disorders, and chronic illness. Many of the same concerns reflected the perceived competencies of social workers. Nearly half of all nutritionists surveyed acknowledged deficits in almost all adolescent food-related concerns. The impact of these low levels of perceived competency is discussed in terms of implications for clinical service.

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