Key Findings

Finding 1: What social stressors concerned these parents?

Parents in the focus groups cited a broad range of social stressors that affected their children’s health and well-being, including some that screening tools for social determinants of health may not currently include.

Finding 2: What roles did these parents think pediatricians could play in addressing social needs?

The parents did not immediately identify pediatricians as sources of help with social stressors. Their reactions to the idea of pediatricians discussing these stressors were mixed. They saw some topics, such as nutrition, education and minor behavioral issues, as appropriate to discuss with pediatricians, but others, such as domestic violence, parents’ mental health and legal issues, as more sensitive.

Finding 3: Why did parents think discussing the more sensitive social needs with pediatricians would be difficult?

Parents’ concerns about discussing sensitive social needs with pediatricians 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.

Finding 4: How did these parents think pediatricians should discuss social determinants of health with them?

Parents’ recommendations for pediatricians about discussing social determinants of health included building trust, choosing the right moment and making clear that screening is standard protocol.