University of Oulu

Kanste, O. Subjective unmet needs for school health services among adolescents with different disabilities : a population-based study in Finland, International Journal of Caring Sciences, 2019, vol. 12:3, p. 1346-1355

Subjective unmet needs for school health services among adolescents with different disabilities : a population-based study in Finland

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Author: Kanste, Outi Ilona1
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-01-14


Background: Subjective perceptions of unmet needs for health services among adolescents with different disabilities remain largely unstudied, even though various international conventions on the rights of people with disabilities oblige signatory governments to improve the equality of access to services.

Aims: The aim the study was to examine the need for, and accessibility to, support and help from school health services among adolescents with different disabilities. A second aim was to determine whether these unmet needs are related to certain sociodemographic factors.

Methodology: A nationwide, population-based cross-sectional study design was used. The data were collected from the 2017 School Health Promotion study in Finland. The study population consisted of 72,994 8th and 9thgrade adolescents (aged 14–16) who responded to a web survey, reflecting a response rate of 63%. The data were analyzed by cross-tabulation, chi-square tests and logistic regression.

Results: The most common self-reported disabilities among adolescents were difficulties in remembering and learning (6–7%). However, a troubling 18–29% of adolescents with major difficulties reported that they had needed support from a school health nurse but had not received it. Moreover, 26–36% of adolescents with difficulties who had needed support from a physician had not received it. Adolescents with disabilities have approximately two- or three-fold higher risks of unmet needs than adolescents without disabilities. Adolescents with difficulties concentrating showed an over three-fold higher risk for unmet needs than other adolescents. The identified differences were evident even after sociodemographic factors were controlled for.

Conclusions: Disabled adolescents may well have more health needs than other adolescents, and some of these needs may be unidentified. Thus, disabled adolescents may not receive the support and help they require. In this respect, there are challenging differences between adolescents with and without disabilities.

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Series: International journal of caring sciences
ISSN: 1791-5201
ISSN-E: 1792-037X
ISSN-L: 1791-5201
Volume: 12
Issue: 3
Pages: 1346 - 1355
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Copyright information: © 2019 The Author. With this license readers can share, distribute, download, even commercially, as long as the original source is properly cited.