Physicians assessment of deficiencies and desire for training in adolescent care

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61 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, there has been growing awareness among medical educators and care providers of the deficits in the training of primary care physicians to meet the health care needs of adolescents. The study reported here is the first national survey of primary care physicians perceptions of their competency in dealing with adolescents health concerns. In the survey, 351 internists, family practitioners, and pediatricians rated their competency in 19 areas of adolescent health care. Approximately three-quarters or more of the internists indicated deficits in all 19 areas. In areas related to gynecologic concerns, more pediatricians reported deficits than family physicians; but more family physicians than pediatricians reported deficiencies in managing acute conditions of youth (growth and developmental problems, endocrinopathies, school-based problems, and chronic illnesses). All physicians indicated deficiencies in dealing with high-risk health behaviors: eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, homosexuality, and delinquency. Finally, more than 45 percent of the physicians overall reported deficiencies in areas related to social and/ or emotional concerns, including suicide, depression, and family conflicts. Despite these acknowledged deficits, most of the primary care physicians did not indicate adolescents to be the least desirable age group with which to work. However, few of the physicians expressed a desire to improve their skills. Overall, in none of the 19 areas did more than 30 percent of the physicians who had reported deficiencies in an area express interest in improving their competency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-407
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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