This report from Public Agenda and United Hospital Fund provides the results of qualitative research aiming to better understand parents’ perspectives on social determinants of health, receptiveness to discussing social needs with pediatricians, and ideas for making social determinants of health screenings work well.

Through focus groups with low-income parents in New York City, the authors found:

  • A broad range of social stressors that parents cited as affecting their children’s health and well-being, including some that screening tools for social determinants of health may not currently include.
  • Mixed reactions to the idea of discussing more sensitive social stressors with pediatricians.
  • Concerns included worries about being judged and discriminated against, fear of intervention by a child welfare agency, lack of time during appointments and frustration at the prospect of disclosing sensitive information without getting help.
  • Recommendations for how to discuss social determinants of health included building trust, choosing the right moment and making clear that screening is standard protocol.

Read the report