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Adolescent Medicine

Iris F. Litt, MD
JAMA. 1987;258(16):2230-2231. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400160084015.
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One of the major tasks of adolescence is getting an education. The right to a formal education is protected by law. Obviously, however, much of an adolescent's learning takes place out of the classroom. Despite the repeated finding that many teenagers would like to receive more information about sexuality from their parents, most learn about this and other emotionally laden subjects in the context of peer S interactions or from the media.

Surveys of parents have shown them to be insecure and poorly informed as potential educators. In fact, one study found 45% of mothers of adolescent girls to be misinformed about the time of the month during which pregnancy was most likely to occur.1 Physicians, although having the expertise to teach these matters, have limited contact with adolescent patients, and some, unfortunately, are uncomfortable in such a role or lack the time to assume it. Peers, on the


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