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Young People Show Support for Social Determinants of Health Screening

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

Members of Generation Z say they are willing to discuss social determinants of health with clinicians, according to the results of a recent survey.

Researchers from the University of Michigan conducted a national survey via text message. More than 1,100 participants age 14 to 24 years received five open-ended questions about social determinants of health, such as education, food security, housing stability, and general safety (mean age = 19.2 years, 48.9% male, 62.1% non-Hispanic white, and 38.9% qualified for free or reduced lunch).

More than 1,000 who received the survey responded to at least one question. Generally, 81% believe it is important for a physician or someone from the medical team to screen for social determinants of health (51% of respondents prefer to receive information about social determinants of health in person). One-quarter are interested in learning about resources and 13% are interested in referrals. Young people also appreciate general advice and clinicians listening closely to concerns.

“As a doctor, what I hear is my adolescent and young adult patients want me to ask them about more than their health. They want me to ask about their lives,” Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS, who directed the poll, said in a statement. “This opens a door for doctors and other healthcare providers to really understand the root causes of the issues that young people are facing today. Youth in our study didn't expect providers to solve their issues, rather, just listen. I can do that.”

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Hospital Case Management.