Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Alice Miller


Purpose: Adolescents in Connecticut can legally consent to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care themselves and their parents do not have the right to view their confidential SRH treatment records. A qualitative study capturing information about adolescent girls’ experiences when receiving SRH care was conducted to explore how confidentiality and privacy play out in the clinic from the perspective of adolescents, the facilitators and barriers to adolescents’ confidentiality and privacy in SRH care, and the influence of family members or other guardians on adolescent patients’ confidentiality and privacy.

Methods: A secondary analysis of 31 interviews with adolescent girls was conducted. All girls were interviewed before or after their appointment with a physician they were scheduled to see at either a primary care clinic or any of three adolescent gynecology clinics. Dedoose software was used to facilitate data retrieval.

Results: Four major themes describe experiences and desires of adolescent girls as it relates to confidentiality and privacy in SRH care: confidentiality and privacy as signs of autonomy and respect for the emerging adult; the double-edged sword of parental involvement in SRH care; confidentiality and privacy serving as both a privilege and protection for adolescent girls; and adolescents’ desire for more direct and confidential communication with health care providers.

Conclusion: Half of the study participants did not feel that their own confidentiality and privacy was threatened; the other half revealed that they had some concerns about their SRH care needs and information being shared with their guardians. All girls believed that a tool privately capturing their health concerns before appointments would make a difference in patient-provider confidentiality and interactions. This tool would be a welcome addition to adolescent-focused clinics, particularly in those clinics providing care SRH care or mental health care.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access