Author

Hague

Date of Award

6-2007

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

Department

Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Dr. Helen Sharp

Second Advisor

Dr. Dilip Patel

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephen Tasko

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Background: The literature suggests adolescents have the cognitive abilities equivalent to an adult for health related decisions. Adolescents should participate in treatment planning at a level equivalent to their cognitive abilities and the extent they desire. Little is known regarding adolescents' perceived and desired level of involvement in decision making in an oral cleft clinic.

Purpose: To describe adolescents' perceptions of their roles and desired level of involvement in decision-making in an oral cleft clinic.

Methods: Four adolescents completed a questionnaire and participated in focus groups.

Results: Participants reported that they perceive they are involved in decision-making processes, are knowledgeable about their cleft, and believe they will be ready to make independent decisions by age 18. Participants advocated for increased autonomy, but some expressed a preference for parents to make decisions.

Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest adolescents perceive they are involved in decision-making and will be ready to make decisions about their clefts when they tum 18. Most participants feel adolescents should play a major role, while others prefer that parents continue to make significant health related decisions. Findings are limited by a small sample size.

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