Assessing the Health Needs of Unique Populations of Adolescents: A Focus Group Study


Few articles report on youth’s perceptions about health-related issues and needs and even fewer have given voice to youth with disabilities, chronic health conditions, or youth in therapeutic foster care. The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of health issues from the perspectives of youth placed in therapeutic foster care, youth with chronic medical conditions, and youth with disabilities. Twelve focus groups with 67 youth aged 13–20 were conducted in rural, suburban, and urban communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Data analysis revealed both within unique group themes and themes that cut across unique groups. Youth in therapeutic foster care with chronic health conditions or with disabilities perceive themselves as being different from their peers. Participants in each group expressed concerns about the unique issues that they confront daily and how these challenges differentiate them from youth who do not share their life experiences. They expressed the desire for other youth to understand them better and to not treat them differently. Discussion and implications focus on the need to create programs to support the unique needs of these youth.


Social Work

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Social Work in Health Care


Taylor and Francis

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