What Teens Want: Barriers to Seeking Care for Depression
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This study examined the experiences of teenagers seeking and receiving care for depression from primary care providers. We investigated teens’ perceived barriers in obtaining care to determine how primary care can effectively address depressed teens’ stated needs. In-depth individual (n = 15) and focus group (n = 7) interviews with adolescents were conducted and analyzed using grounded theory and prominent themes were identified. Teenagers reported faring best when providers actively considered and reflected upon the teenagers’ developmentally appropriate desires to be normal, to feel connected, and to be autous. These goals are achieved by providers establishing rapport, exchanging information about depression etiology and treatment, and helping teens make decisions about their treatment. To the extent that providers improve efforts to help teens feel normal, autonomous, and connected, the teens report they are more likely to accept treatment for depression and report success in treatment.
Keywordsdepression adolescents identity primary care patient–provider communication
This research was supported by a National Research Service Award from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research and a Greenlick Grant from the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the Oregon Health & Science University, both to the first author. This work was completed during the first author’s appointment at the Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest. The authors would like to thank the teenagers who participated in the study and Chrystal Agnor, Christopher Kelleher, and Cheryl Ritenbaugh for their invaluable assistance.
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