Caregiver Comfort in Adolescents Independently Completing Screening Tablet-Based Questionnaires at Primary Care Visits

Stephanie N. Ferrin, Randall W. Grout, Amy Lewis Gilbert, Tracey A. Wilkinson, Erika R. Cheng, Stephen M. Downs, Matthew C. Aalsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: The objective of this study was to assess caregiver comfort regarding adolescent completion of computerized health screening questionnaires created for adolescents. Methods: We conducted a mixed-method, cross-sectional survey of caregivers of adolescent patients (n = 104) aged 12–18 years who had a medical visit between June 2017 and August 2017. Topics assessed included who completed the questionnaire, caregiver comfort and concern regarding questionnaire data, and caregiver reasons for involvement in completing the questionnaire. A one-way analysis of variance was used to compare the age of the adolescent and caregiver involvement in the questionnaire. Results: The majority of adolescents (64%) reported independent completion of the questionnaire. Thirteen percent of caregivers completed the questionnaire with no involvement of the adolescent and 23% reported that caregivers and adolescents completed the questionnaire in tandem. The majority of caregivers (84%) were comfortable with adolescents completing the questionnaire. A variety of reasons were identified for caregivers completing the questionnaire (time constraints, 22%; adolescent requested caregiver help, 19%; caregiver desired to answer questions, 14%; caregiver did not realize that the questionnaire was intended for the adolescent, 11%; caregiver believed that the adolescent was too young to respond alone, 11%). Caregiver comfort with adolescent completing the questionnaire increase with age. Conclusion: We found the reason most caregivers gave for completing the questionnaires were related to clinic processes (e.g. time constraints). Caregivers were more likely to complete the questionnaire with younger adolescents. Thus, pediatricians should consider how to best prepare families for initial questionnaires in primary care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-804
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Adolescent
  • Caregiver
  • Primary care
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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