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January 14, 1998

Assuring Adolescents About Medical Confidentiality

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(2):116-117. doi:10.1001/jama.279.2.113

To the Editor.—The study by Dr Ford and colleagues1showed that adolescents are sensitive to assurances of medical confidentiality, and that their concerns influence their stated intentions of discussing sensitive issues with their physicians and of considering return visits for even routine medical care. Adolescents who received assurances of some sort responded that they would be more likely both to share sensitive information and to seek medical treatment in the future than those given no assurance. This is an interesting and satisfying experimental finding, but physicians should resist the impulse to apply it directly to practice.

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