Access to private and confidential health care among secondary school students in New Zealand

Simon Denny*, Bridget Farrant, John Cosgriff, Mo Hart, Toby Cameron, Rachel Johnson, Viv McNair, Jennifer Utter, Sue Crengle, Theresa Fleming, Shanthi Ameratunga, Janie Sheridan, Elizabeth Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Private and confidential health care is an important indicator of the quality of health care for adolescents. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of health care utilization and private and confidential health care among a nationally representative population of high school students. A two-stage cluster sample of 9,107 students (grades 812, response rate 73%) from 96 New Zealand high schools (response rate 84%) participated in a 2007 health survey using Internet tablets. Questions included when and where they had accessed health care, if their health care provider had explained that their health care was confidential, and if they had been seen in private by their health care provider. Although 83% of students had accessed health care in the previous 12 months, only 27% of students reported receiving private and confidential health care. Students who had accessed health care from a school-based health center (adjusted relative risk [95% confidence interval] 1.54 [1.421.66]) or family planning/sexual health clinics (adjusted relative risk = 2.1 [1.92.26]) were more likely to report receiving private and confidential health care compared with students who had not accessed health care from these settings. While most young people access health care from their family doctor or general practitioner's clinic, rates of private and confidential health care were low suggesting that opportunities to adequately explore and respond to important yet sensitive topics are compromised in primary care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-291
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


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