Adolescent and Parent Perspectives on Medical Decision-Making for Chronic Illness

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Introduction: The objective of the study was to assess correlates of adolescent and parent perceptions of their involvement in medical decision-making (MDM). Method: Study participants included 28 pairs of pediatric patients with chronic rheumatologic illnesses and their parents presenting to an outpatient rheumatology clinic. Participants completed measures assessing perceptions of MDM involvement, health consciousness, and decisional conflict. Results: Adolescent health consciousness correlated positively with parent health consciousness and adolescent-valuing involvement. There was a significant positive correlation between adolescents-valuing involvement in medical decisions and perception of actual involvement. Adolescents who perceived themselves as more involved in their care reported less decisional conflict. Parents who wanted to participate in MDM reported greater actual involvement. Discussion: Adolescents who value participation in MDM reported higher levels of actual participation, suggesting their preferences may be considered by providers. Greater engagement in MDM was related to lower decisional conflict for adolescents, suggesting that including adolescents in the MDM process does not necessarily result in confusion or distress.

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