Assessing Health System Provision of Adolescent Preventive Services: The Young Adult Health Care Survey

Christina Bethell, Jonathan Klein, Colleen Peck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Adolescents often do not receive recommended preventive counseling and screening services. Few measures are available to assess health care system performance in this area. OBJECTIVE. Develop a reliable, valid, and feasible method for measuring adherence to consensus guidelines for adolescent preventive counseling and screening services. METHODS. The 45-item Young Adult Health Care Survey (YAHCS) was tested with a diverse group of commercially and publicly insured adolescents enrolled in managed care organizations (n = 4,060). Psychometric, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were conducted to assess the reliability, validity, and patterns of variation in the preventive care measurement scales derived from the YAHCS. RESULTS. YAHCS measurement scales demonstrated strong construct validity (mean factor loading = 0.64) and reliability (mean Cronbach's alpha = 0.77). Average preventive counseling and screening scores ranged from 18.2% for discussing risky behavior topics to 50.4% for discussing diet, weight, and exercise topics. Adolescent demographic, health care use, and payer factors explained a small amount of variation across adolescent scores on YACHS scales (mean R2 = 0.086). Females and older teens were more likely to report private time with providers and counseling and screening on topics related to sex. Overall, the odds of receiving preventive counseling and screening for adolescents who reported having private time with providers, engaging in risky behaviors, or both were higher than for adolescents who did not meet privately or report risky behaviors (private visit OR, 3.60; 95% CI, 2.91-4.47; risky behaviors OR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.62-2.52). CONCLUSIONS. The YAHCS provides a feasible, reliable, and valid method for assessing adherence to adolescent preventive services guidelines. It differentiates among varied aspects of preventive care provided to adolescents and is promising as a potential measure of health plan and provider quality. Improved performance on the YAHCS would indicate progress toward the achievement of Healthy People 2010 goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-490
Number of pages13
JournalMedical care
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2001


  • Adolescent
  • Health care
  • Measurement
  • Preventive
  • Quality
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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