Adolescent Health: Communication With Adolescent Patients

Maria V Svetaz, Katy Miller, Janna Gewirtz O'Brien, Lauren McPherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Communication is an essential component in providing health care for adolescent patients. A critical part of adolescence is identity development. Affirmation of identity and emphasis on individual strengths are important for this age group. The concept of resilience is at the center of adolescent care and shapes how care is defined and delivered. A primary goal is to protect patients from harm through a combination of promotion of protective factors, including resilience, and risk factor reduction. In adolescents, use of motivational interviewing has been shown to decrease risky sexual behaviors, help prevent unplanned pregnancy, increase physical activity levels, and decrease substance use. Confidentiality is another essential component of care. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends use of the Strengths, School, Home, Activities, Drugs/substance use, Emotions/eating/depression, Sexuality, Safety (SSHADESS) screen for psychosocial assessment. Several other standardized, validated screening tools also may be valuable in guiding discussions and identifying risky behaviors. Sexual orientation, gender identity, religious, racial, and ethnic components of identity development should be addressed. The empowerment of adolescent patients to achieve personal independence in the health care setting is part of the transition from an adolescent approach to health care to an adult approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalFP essentials
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Written permission from the American Academy of Family Physicians is required for reproduction of this material in whole or in part in any form or medium.


Dive into the research topics of 'Adolescent Health: Communication With Adolescent Patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this