To determine the proportion of adolescents with cystic fibrosis (CF) or sickle cell disease (SCD) who reported speaking with their physicians about health-promoting and risky behaviors and whether the rate of discussions varied by whether the main physician was a primary care provider or specialist.
Adolescents reporting a primary care provider as their main physician would be more likely to have received risk behavior counseling and other preventive services.
Comprehensive CF and SCD centers in 5 North Carolina referral hospitals.
Three hundred twenty-one (74%) of 437 adolescents aged 12 through 19 years (mean age, 15.6 years; 51% male) with CF or SCD identified through center registries.
Main Outcome Measures
Sources of health care, main physician, and recall of discussions with physicians regarding sexual issues, substance use, weight or dieting, safety issues, depression, and violence.
Adolescents with CF (53%) or SCD (46%) most commonly reported a specialist as their main physician. For those (83%) who saw their main physician in the past year, adolescents with SCD reported counseling rates ranging from 43% for sexuality to 15% for weapon carrying or fighting. For adolescents with CF, rates ranged from 65% for weight and dieting to 30% for sexuality and 6% for weapon carrying or fighting. Adolescents whose main physician was a primary care provider were no more or less likely to report counseling for any topic (all P>.05).
Physicians, regardless of specialty, infrequently discussed common behavioral issues with these adolescents with CF or SCD. A coordinated effort between primary care physicians and specialists may be helpful in delivering optimal preventive services to this population.