Adolescents' perceptions of interpersonal communication, respect, and concern for privacy in an urban tertiary-care pediatric emergency department

Kim A. Rutherford, Raymond D. Pitetti, Noel S. Zuckerbraun, Susan Smola, Melanie A. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives: To measure adolescents' perceived overall satisfaction with health care in a pediatric emergency department (PED), identify key factors that contributed to satisfaction, and determine how these factors interacted with length of stay (LOS) and triage acuity. Methods: Prospective observational design with a convenience sample of 100 adolescents 13 to 21 years old recruited from the PED between February and June 2007. Participants completed a self-administered 27-item written survey with closed and open-ended items. Results: Survey response rate was 99%. Respondents completed the survey in a mean time of 6.6 minutes (range, 3-12 minutes; SD, 2.0 minutes). Most (95%) reported being satisfied with their overall PED experience, and 91% would recommend the PED to other adolescents. Interpersonal communication and respect correlated significantly with respondents' overall satisfaction. There were no statistically significant differences in overall satisfaction rates by sex, age, socioeconomic status, or ethnicity, or by LOS, triage acuity score, or hospital admission. Most (94%) answered a qualitative survey item that asked how their PED care could be improved with 4 distinct responses: no changes necessary, enhance interpersonal communication, improve comfort of stay, and shorten LOS. Conclusions: Adolescents expressed high levels of satisfaction with their overall PED experience at our institution. Interpersonal communication and respect highly correlated with overall satisfaction. A multicenter study using a similar self-administered survey would further support the relationship between key factors and PED adolescent satisfaction. Utilization of a self-administered survey for adolescent research is feasible in the PED and could be used to improve quality control measures for adolescent care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-273
Number of pages17
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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