Objective: To describe the types and sources of social support received by adolescents obtaining care at a large urban sexually transmitted diseases (STD) clinic. Method: A total of 140 females and 82 males (ages 13-20 mean, 17.6 years) indicated whether they had received any of 11 types of social support, and, if so, from whom. Types of support included: companionship to clinic, advice on symptom interpretation, advice to seek clinical care, advice on potential sources of care, help making appointments, prior provision of medications, supportive talking, help talking to sex partner, provision of money, provision of transportation, and help getting STD protection. Results: Eighty percent received at least one type of social support of whom 77% of subjects reported at least two types of support. The most frequently received support was information about symptom interpretation and appropriate clinic use (47% for each); 41% were accompanied to their clinic visit, and 37% received emotional support. A total of 15% of men but only 4% of women (p < .05 by Chi-square) received medication (usually antibiotics) but women were more likely to receive financial help (5% vs. 0% for women and men, respectively; p < .05). Although women obtained support earlier in the care-seeking process than men, there were no other significant gender differences in types of received support. Friends and sex partners were the most frequently cited sources of companionship and transportation, but parents provided transportation, information, medicine, and money for 15- 20% of subjects receiving these types of support. Conclusion: Most adolescents receive a social support as part of seeking care for STD-related problems.
- Gender differences
- Health care delivery
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health