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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

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Youth friendly communication in a transition clinic aimed at adolescents with chronic illness

Signe Hanghøj
  • Corresponding author
  • Center of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Kirsten A. Boisen
  • Center of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Kjeld Schmiegelow
  • Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • The Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Bibi Hølge-Hazelton
  • Zealand University Hospital & The Research Unit for General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-08-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0083



Good communication skills are considered a cornerstone in a “youth friendly approach”. However, research in the field as well as transition guidelines only sparsely explain what doctor-patient communication involves. Furthermore, only few guidelines exist regarding concrete communication skills for health professionals who want to apply a youth friendly communication approach to their practice.


To examine how health professionals trained in adolescent medicine practise a youth friendly approach when communicating with adolescents with chronic illness.


Data from 10 non-participation observations of transition consultations with adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) were analysed using a qualitative positioning analysis approach focusing on the health professionals’ reflexive and interactive positionings as well as the décor of the consultation room.


The health professionals in the transition clinic positioned the adolescent patients as independent interlocutors, children, and adolescents, and they positioned themselves as imperfect/untraditional, appreciative and non-judgmental. The positionings were based on a number of linguistic tools such as affirmation, recognition, examples, asking for the adolescents’ own expert knowledge and the décor. The health professionals actively negotiated power.


Positionings and linguistic tools were inspired by youth friendly tools including the HEADS (Home Education/Eating Activities Drugs Sex/Safety/Self harm) interview, motivational interviewing, and an adolescent medicine practice. A central component was negotiating of power. Limitations of the study include a risk of too positive interpretations of data, i.e. because of the presence of the observer, who could have affected the health professionals’ positionings.

Keywords: chronic illness; communication; positioning; transition; youth friendly


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About the article

Received: 2017-05-09

Accepted: 2017-06-25

Published Online: 2017-08-29

Conflicts of interest: No conflicts of interests to declare. The study has received only public funding, and the funders did not play any role in relation to study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation of data, the writing of the article and the decision to submit the paper for publication. Funding was received from Juliane Marie Centret, Trygfonden, Helsefonden, Familien Hede Nielsens Fond, Axel Muusfeldts Fond, Dagmar Marshalls Fond, Fonden af 17.12.1981, Peter Ryholts Legat, Ronald McDonald Børnefond, Tømrermester Jørgen Holm og Hustru Elisa F. Hansens Mindelegat, Ville Heises Legat and Tømmerhandler Johannes Fogs Fond.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170083, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0083.

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