Objectives: Young people who are concerned that consultations may not remain confidential are reluctant to consult their doctors, especially about sensitive issues. This study sought to identify issues and concerns of adolescents, and their parents, in relation to confidentiality and teenagers’ personal health information.
Setting: Recruitment was conducted in paediatric dermatology and general surgery outpatient clinics, and on general surgery paediatric wards. Interviews were conducted in subjects’ own homes.
Methods: Semistructured interviews were used for this exploratory qualitative study. Interviews were carried out with 11 young women and nine young men aged 14–17. Parents of 18 of the young people were interviewed separately. Transcripts of tape recorded interviews provided the basis for a framework analysis.
Results: Young women were more concerned than young men, and older teenagers more concerned than younger teenagers, about people other than their general practitioner (GP) having access to their health information. Young people with little experience of the healthcare system were less happy than those with greater knowledge of the National Health Service (NHS) for non-medical staff to access their health information. As they grow older, adolescents become increasingly concerned that their health information should remain confidential.
Conclusion: Young people’s willingness to be open in consultations could be enhanced by doctors taking time to explain to them that their discussion is completely confidential. Alternatively, if for any reason confidentiality cannot be assured, doctors should explain why.
- GP, general practitioner
- NHS, National Health Service
- medical records
- young people
- rights of children
- parental view
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
↵ i The number following the description of the interviewee, in the quotes from the interviews, is the number assigned to that particular interviewee.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- What do young people think about their school-based sex and relationship education? A qualitative synthesis of young people's views and experiences
- ‘It’s on your conscience all the time’: a systematic review of qualitative studies examining views on obesity among young people aged 12–18 years in the UK
- Dying to get out: young drivers, safety and social inequity
- What is best practice in sex and relationship education? A synthesis of evidence, including stakeholders’ views
- Group therapy for adolescents with repeated self harm: randomised controlled trial with economic evaluation
- Adolescents with physical disability: seeing the individual in context
- Discharge outcome analysis of 1089 transgender young people referred to paediatric endocrine clinics in England 2008–2021
- Perspectives on fertility preservation and parenthood among transgender youth and their parents
- Views of contraceptive service delivery to young people in the UK: a systematic review and thematic synthesis
- Monitoring trends in sexual behaviour and HIV/STIs in Peru: are available data sufficient?