Gender-specific factors in the utilization of medical services during adolescence


Gender-specific factors in the utilization of medical services during adolescence


Settertobulte W; Kolip P


Journal Of Adolescence




Female; Humans; Male; Parent-Child Relations; Health Services Accessibility; Socioeconomic Factors; Patient Acceptance of Health Care; Health Status; Sex Factors; Patient Satisfaction; Regression Analysis; Germany; Practice; adolescent; Attitudes; Adolescent Transitions; Health Knowledge; Adolescent Health Services/utilization; Discriminant Analysis


Although adolescents suffer from a variety of complaints, they do not often consult a doctor. Following a high rate of medical consultation during infancy and childhood, the rate dramatically decreases at the age of 10 and increases again around the age of 16. In this study we investigated factors that influence the use of medical services during adolescence. We focused our attention on gender-specific differences and examined the following hypotheses: (i) Girls and boys differ generally in their consultation behaviour; and (ii) the use of medical services depends on the kind of prevailing illness and is influenced by gender-specific factors. The investigation is based on a standardized questionnaire answered by 2300 schoolgirls and -boys, aged 12 to 16. The topics of the questionnaire were, apart from sociodemographic variables: subjective state of health; prevailing illnesses and complaints; health-related cognitions; quality of the parental relationship; stress at school; and satisfaction with previous medical treatment. The results showed that girls reported suffering significantly more frequently from most illnesses than boys. However, there was no difference between girls and boys in the general consultation rate. In a regression analysis we found that subjective impairment, satisfaction with the previous medical consultation and the tendency to be concerned with one's health were the best statistical predictors of consultation behaviour. Age, social status, sex, stress at school and the quality of the relationship between adolescents and their parents were not significantly related to consultation rate. A discriminant analysis (consultation vs. non-consultation) revealed that, depending on specific illnesses, different factors influenced the decision to consult a doctor.


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Settertobulte W; Kolip P, “Gender-specific factors in the utilization of medical services during adolescence,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed June 22, 2024,