The Importance of Private Talks with Your Doctor
Jan 18, 2019
Many young people never get to have private discussions with their doctors without their parents in the room, according to a new study. And that could affect how adolescents feel about their doctors and preventive medicine.
This study surveyed nearly 2,000 people between the ages of 13 and 26. Only around half of respondents reported ever having a private talk with their health care provider. For 13- and 14-year-old boys, that number was closer to 14 percent. It was 22 percent for girls in the same age range.
The authors of this study expressed concern that a lack of private, confidential discussions between young people and their doctors could cause some young patients to withhold important information or develop negative attitudes toward preventive health care.
"Providing private time and discussions of confidentiality can improve the delivery of health care for young people by enhancing positive youth attitudes about preventive care," the study authors wrote.
These researchers noted that younger patients who had engaged in sexual activity were more likely to report having had private discussions with their health care providers.
For a doctor or other health care provider to give comprehensive, fully informed care that is individualized for your unique situation, he or she needs to have all the facts. It's important to always be honest and open with your health care providers. The same goes for your children — they need to tell their doctors everything relevant about their health to ensure that they receive accurate and helpful treatment and advice.
If you are concerned about your child's health for any reason, talk to his or her health care provider.
This study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.