European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare. 2017, 5 (3), 324-328
Background and Objectives: Adolescence is a time of substantial change, bringing about the transition from childhood into adulthood. Patterns for future health behaviors are developed and continue into adult life. Little is known about adolescents’ perceptions of health and help-seeking within healthcare services. The objective of this study was to explore adolescents’ attitudes to health and seeking help for health-related problems.
Methods: A qualitative design was chosen. Interviews were conducted with 5 adolescents visiting a youth health clinic in Moss, Norway. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and analyzed according to systematic text condensation.
Results: The participants were 2 boys and 3 girls, ranging from 17-19 years of age. We found that all adolescents incorporated psychological and social qualities in their view on health. Positive social connections with family and friends were the most important factors for good health for all participants. They all conveyed resistance to disclosing mental health issues, although this was recognized as the most important barrier for good health. Establishing a trusting relationship with a healthcare provider was necessary before disclosing mental health issues and receiving help.
Conclusion: In our small qualitative assessment of adolescents’ attitudes to health and seeking help for health-related problems, we found that adolescents’ focus was on mental and social aspects of health and that a trusting relationship with healthcare providers was necessary for the adolescents to seek help within the healthcare system. Future research should be conducted to study more deeply what characterizes the relationship between adolescents and healthcare providers in order to provide the most effective and appropriate healthcare to patients during this particular period of life.