Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States
March 3, 2000
A recent study in the Journal of School Health explores adolescents' use of school-based clinics (SBCs) for family planning and STD-related services.
Researchers looked at data from 20,743 students 12 to 21 years of age who participated in the Add Health study. This study was conducted between April and December 1995 and is based on a systematic random sample of students in grades 7 through 12 in 134 U.S. secondary schools.
Family Planning Services
Family Planning in School Based Clinics
STD-related Services in School-Based Clinics
Adolescents were most likely to seek reproductive health services from community clinics and private medical clinics. Only one in ten reported receiving these services from an SBC. Attending a school that provided reproductive health services in an SBC was not related to use of an SBC for these services.
Though females were almost twice as likely as males to receive family planning or counseling services, the authors note that a sizable portion of males reported using these services. In addition, the results showed that males were more likely than females to use SBCs for STD-related services even though females overall were more likely to report receiving these services in the past year.
Adolescents who had received a routine physical exam from an SBC in the past year were among those who were most likely to use an SBC for STD-related services. The authors suggested that use of the SBC for a routine physical might build a trusting relationship with clinic staff and encourage students to seek STD-related services from them.
Adolescents who reported less perceived parental approval of sexual intercourse were also among the most likely to receive STD-related services at an SBC. The authors suggested that teens might feel that their parents would more likely question a visit to another clinic location.
The authors suggested that factors promoting the use of SBCs might include perceptions of professional treatment, confidentiality, convenience, and nonjudgmental interactions with clinic staff. They recommended that school health providers identify such factors to encourage adolescents to utilize the settings for primary and secondary prevention of STDs and unintended pregnancy.
For more information:
R. A. Crosby and J. St. Lawrence, "Adolescents' Use of School-based Health Clinics for Reproductive Health Services: Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health," Journal of School Health, vol. 70, no. 1, pp. 22-27.
The report covers a wide variety of health issues such as teen pregnancy, suicide, violence, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS. For each topic, the report offers concise definitions, raises important issues, and provides statistics on Boston youth.
The report also provides a list of local resources, a glossary of terms, and a list of local organizations to which teens can turn for additional help and information.
For a free copy:
Boston Public Health Commission
This article was provided by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin.