Parent and Adolescent Views on Barriers to Adolescent Preventive Health Care Utilization

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To determine adolescent and parent views of barriers to annual adolescent preventive care.

Study design

A nationally recruited cross-sectional study of adolescents between ages 13 and 18 years, and parents of adolescents from different families, were recruited. The primary outcome was self-report of preventive care in the last 12 months. Demographic, family health discussions, physical/emotional health importance, and preventive care barriers were gathered from adolescents and parents.


The majority of the sample (500 adolescents and 504 parents in different families) reported a primary care visit within 12 months (parents = 78.7%; adolescents = 66.9%). Adolescent participants identified more barriers than parents (parents = 0.69; adolescents = 1.42). Adolescent who reported having discussions with parents about health (aOR 1.57, 95% CI 1.26-1.98) and seeing a subspecialist provider (aOR 3.72, CI 1.21-11.47) were more likely to report preventive visits. Barriers for parents and adolescents include the belief that an appointment is only needed when a child is sick (parent aOR 0.21, CI 0.08-0.61; adolescent aOR 0.29, CI 0.17-0.51) and family cannot afford cost (parent aOR 0.34, CI 0.15-0.81; adolescent aOR 0.50, CI 0.26-0.97). Barriers for parents include the child sees a specialist (aOR 0.26, CI 0.08-0.88) and their child does not need a checkup (aOR 0.12, CI 0.05-0.34). Lastly, a barrier for adolescents was parents never schedule preventive visits (aOR 0.31, CI 0.17-0.58).


The Affordable Care Act has the potential to limit preventive care barriers. The results of the current study find there are parental and adolescent issues regarding preventive services that should be addressed.

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