Aims To investigate healthcare priorities among children (≤12 years), early adolescents (13–15
years) and late adolescents (16–18 years).
Methods A total of 2023 respondents from eight European countries rated the importance of nine
healthcare factors. The relative importance of these factors was compared within and between age
groups, using mean score differences and logistic regression.
Results The most important item for all age groups was being listened to. Children rated pain
control and the presence of parents more important than either understanding the doctor or being
able to ask questions. Among adolescents, these differences disappeared for pain control and were
reversed for parental presence. The changes in relative priorities between childhood and
adolescence remained significant after adjusting for sex, long-standing illness and nationality
(all P < 0.001).
Conclusion Healthcare priorities evolve significantly between childhood and early adolescence.
However, being listened to is the most important priority at all ages.