Intervening to reach adolescents and affect health

Linda C Summers, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Background. Assessing the health status of adolescents is challenging for health care providers. Personal disclosure has been associated with improved health outcomes. Story-centered care was examined as an intervention for promoting adolescent disclosure during an urgent care visit. Objectives. This study explored: (1) the effectiveness of story-centered care for promoting adolescent disclosure; (2) health-associated words used by adolescents to describe pressing concerns after an urgent care visit when they had standard care (SC) or story-centered care (SCC) conducted by a Nurse Practitioner (NP). Methods. Subjects were randomly assigned to SC or SCC. In SC, adolescent presenting concerns were identified and treated. In SCC, presenting concerns were treated and NP-adolescent dialogue, facilitated through a screening tool, queried matters of importance to adolescent life. After the visit, adolescents wrote about pressing concerns for 15 minutes. Written words were analyzed with Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, a software program for analyzing narrative. Ratios were calculated for the number of words (adolescent: NP) used during the urgent care visit. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate gender-intervention differences in health-associated words. Results. One hundred and six adolescents [Hispanic (65%), White (35%)] completed the study. Fifty-five were female; the average age was 17 (sd = 2.1) years. Adolescents in the story intervention used more words (adolescent: NP, 1:1.3) than those in standard intervention (adolescent: NP, 1:2.7) in proportion to the number of words used by the NP during the urgent care visit. There were gender-intervention differences (p < .01) in positive emotion words and past-tense words in writings about pressing concerns. Males who received the story intervention used more positive emotion and less past-tense words than adolescent males with standard care. Females used more social words (p < .01) in their writings regardless of intervention group. Conclusion. SCC enhanced adolescent disclosure during an urgent care visit. Adolescents will talk to health care providers during episodic visits and males may benefit more than girls may from this approach. Evidence suggests there is value in attending to both presenting and pressing concerns of adolescents.

Subject Area

Nursing|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Summers, Linda C, "Intervening to reach adolescents and affect health" (2003). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3126359.