Adolescent History Training Module

Publication ID Published Volume
1066 August 24, 2009 5


The session is designed to familiarize the medical student with the special needs and issues of the adolescent patient. It is designed to introduce the medical student to the specific components of the adolescent expanded social history. The session emphasizes a combination of didactic and experiential learning and is broken into two parts. The first section consists of a one hour didactic lecture discussing the needs of the adolescent patient, the importance of addressing the health needs of adolescents, and important procedural items such as assuring confidentiality and a level of autonomy. In addition, the types of questions in the expanded social history (HEADSS) Home Education Activities Drugs Sexual Activity/Suicidality that should be asked during a clinical visit are addressed. Following the lecture the students report to the Clinical Skills Assessment Program section (CSAP) for their standardized patient interaction. Student pairs interview an adolescent using the Structured Communication Adolescent Guide (SCAG) [Dr. Kim Blake is the original author and it was used with her permission]. One student is responsible for conducting the interview (20 minutes) while the second student is responsible for observing the interaction and giving feedback along with the adolescent patient instructor (out of character) at the end of the session (10 minutes). The second student can then be the primary interviewer if there are enough adolescent instructors/time available. The encounters are observed by faculty via remote video and there is time set aside for students to debrief with faculty at the end of the session in a small group setting. Students have a one hour didactic lecture discussing the needs of the adolescent patient.

Students and faculty are surveyed on a quarterly basis in order to facilitate curriculum development. The curricular pieces are graded from Poor to Excellent based on three criteria; Relevance of Topic, Quality of Material Presented and Quality of the Presentation. Both students and faculty graded the session favorably. Ninety-two percent of students rated the Relevance of the lecture as Good to Excellent. Ninety percent thought the quality of the material is Good to Excellent, and 87% rated the Quality of the Presentation as Good to Excellent. Students also thought highly of the Clinical Skills section. Ninety percent thought the session increased their understanding and improved their self assessment skills, and 80% thought the quality of feedback was good to excellent. Students made comments including the following: Please note "CSAP" is Clinical Skills Assessment Program; it was a bonus to go to CSAP for this; I had a good interview and received decent feedback; it was a good experience because it provided me with more practice in working with adolescents; should do it more often; very helpful; this was a very useful CSAP for practicing interviewing adolescent patients. Faculty respondents were even more enthusiastic with 100% judging the relevance, quality of content and presentation within the Very Good to Excellent range.

A stable pool of recruited adolescents is ideal. Possibilities include outreach to enrichment programs in local high schools or volunteer groups. It is strongly recommend recruiting more students than necessary to anticipate potential absences. Another item to consider is the key importance of preparing the adolescent to feel comfortable to give feedback. This has been described By Blake, Gusella and Wakefield. The teen does give feedback out of character in our session but more training is a future goal.


Alerte A, Kosowicz L, Brown S, Lewis J. Adolescent history training module. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2009;5:1066.

Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education

Educational Objectives

  1. To be able to learn and apply effective techniques for interviewing adolescents about risk taking behaviors.
  2. To become more comfortable with counseling of adolescents.
  3. To be able to practice the skills of obtaining sensitive history from and counseling adolescents.


  • Interview, Confidentiality, Social History, Teens, Interviewing, Drugs, Sexual Activity, Suicide, HEADSS

Prior Scholarly Dissemination

Material Access

Please sign in to access this material.

Please register for an AAMC account if you do not have one.


Associated Content

Series (2)

  • Contact Us

Subscribe to Our Quarterly Newsletter

Receive featured content & announcements!

ISSN 2374-8265