Adolescents report their need for and use of health care services.J Adolesc Health. 1997 Dec; 21(6):388-99.JA
The goals of this study were to describe student access to health care services, identify populations of students who remained in need of health care services, and highlight particular unmet needs for health care identified by these adolescents.
Students in Grades 9-12 attending 50 schools in Oregon completed the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS). Questions requesting adolescents to report their need for specific types of health care, and access to general and specific types of care were added to the core YRBS. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine independent relationships between student or community characteristics and health care access or unmet needs for care.
Almost 14,000 adolescents completed surveys, of whom 75% reported visiting one or more health care provider within the last 12 months. Nineteen percent of adolescents reported that they had not received 1 or more of 10 specific types of care when needed in the last year. Females, some racial/ethnic minorities, rural, and sexually active adolescents were more likely to report unmet needs for health care. Most frequently, adolescents reported they needed but did not receive care for an illness (7%) or for personal or emotional problems (6%). In addition, about 400 (3%) students reported they needed birth control that they did not receive.
A majority of high school-age adolescents had visited health care providers within the year prior to study. However, the number of adolescents who reported unmet specific health care needs within the same time period remained substantial.