To determine parents' knowledge and attitudes of medicolegal issues affecting adolescent medical care.


An anonymous, mailed survey with 16 questions concerning Minnesota consent and confidentiality laws that affect adolescents' medical care.


A community of >70 000 in rural, southeastern Minnesota.


Parents of 600 randomly selected 7th- through 12th-grade public school students.


Two hundred eighty-eight (48%) parents returned the surveys. Parents achieved a median score of 18.8% (range, 0%–93.8%) correct on a test of knowledge. Opinion was a median of +0.3 on a scale where −1 signified “a bad law,” 0 signified “neither a good nor bad law,” and +1 signified “a good law.” Four questions, however, generated a more intense response. Seventy-seven percent of parents reported that, as a whole, the laws in the survey had no effect on them and/or their children.


These results suggest that parents are not knowledgeable of Minnesota laws that affect adolescent medical care. Overall opinion of these laws was mildly positive, with notable exceptions. Parents also lack a sense of impact of laws affecting adolescent medical care. Lack of knowledge and the presence of certain attitudes allow for identification of issues that clinicians should address by incorporating medicolegal education into the care of adolescents and their families. These results are especially timely in light of the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act under consideration in Congress, which would provide parents greater authority over their children's medical care.

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