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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

HARRISON, Abigail et al. Adolescent health screening practices by physicians in Jamaica. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.29, n.4, pp. 252-258. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892011000400006.

OBJECTIVE: To review Jamaican physicians' adolescent health screening practices by determining their frequency in areas of biomedical, psychological, social, and educational health; the factors that influence these practices; and physicians' perceived level of self-efficacy and their awareness of screening tools and guidelines. METHODS: A questionnaire was mailed to general practitioners, family medicine specialists, and pediatricians in Jamaica. The primary outcome variable was the frequency of physician screening for a range of biomedical, psychosocial, and educational developmental issues in the majority (> 50%) of adolescent patients. Bivariate analyses were performed to determine differences between professional groups. RESULTS: The response rate was 32.3% (n = 213), with 209 responders being suitable for further analysis. The sample comprised 48.8% general practitioners, 33.0% family medicine specialists, and 18.2% pediatricians. Physicians more often screened for biomedical risks than for psychosocial risks, with very low frequencies of screening for psychosocial issues such as mood, suicidal ideation, sexual orientation, and safety concerns. Physicians reported high levels of confidence in discussing most psychosocial issues with adolescent patients. Time limitation and an insufficient knowledge base were the main factors identified as influencing screening practices. CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest unsatisfactory frequency of adolescent health screening by Jamaican physicians, in particular for psychosocial factors. The primary factors identified by physicians as influencing their screening practices have potential for improvement through continued medical education.

Keywords : Adolescent health; physician's practice patterns; Jamaica.

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