We assessed the extent to which a health concerns checklist (HCC) helps bridge the gap between the reason for encounter (RFE) described by girls entering an adolescent health service and the ultimate diagnosis.
The sample, 547 consecutive 12- to 18-year-old girls visiting an adolescent health service, first underwent a structured intake procedure, including a self-administered form on which they described their RFEs and other health concerns, as well as a psychosocial interview and medical evaluation performed by staff members. The RFEs, HCC items, and diagnoses, grouped into somatic, sexuality-related, and psychosocial categories, were then compared.
Among the 399 girls expressing specific RFEs on entering the clinic, one-third were diagnosed with psychosocial disorders and one-fifth with sexuality-related concerns. Of the patients receiving a sexuality-related diagnosis, 57% presented with a sexuality-related request; another 26% noted it on the checklist. For those diagnosed with psychosocial problems, 22% stated this as the RFE, and another 50% indicated it on the HCC. The contribution of the HCC to the diagnosis was higher among adolescents not stating a specific RFE.
The findings highlight the HCC's contribution in identifying health problems, especially among adolescents who find it difficult to verbalize sensitive issues.