HealthDay News — About half of adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients report having had private time with a health care provider (HCP) and having spoken to an HCP about confidentiality, according to a study published online Jan. 9 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Stephanie A. Grilo, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues surveyed a national representative sample of 1,918 AYAs (age 13 to 26 years) in 2016. Data were analyzed to identify factors associated with ever experiencing private time and discussions of confidentiality with a regular HCP.

The researchers found that 55 and 49 percent of female and male AYA patients, respectively, reported ever having had private time with an HCP, and 55 and 44 percent had spoken to an HCP about confidentiality. 

Older age, race, higher household income, gender of the provider, number of years with the provider, and involvement in risk behaviors were independent predictors of having experienced private time and confidentiality. AYA who had experienced private time and confidentiality discussions reported more positive attitudes about their providers; they were also more willing and comfortable discussing sensitive topics and thought these discussions should occur at younger ages.

“Enhancing the provision of private time and discussions of confidentiality can augment the delivery of preventive care to AYA and ultimately improve health outcomes for this population,” the authors write.

The study was funded by a grant from the Merck Foundation.

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