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Foregone health care in adolescents from school and community settings in Indonesia: a cross-sectional study

Pham MD, Sawyer SM, Agius PA, Kennedy E, Ansariadi A, Kaligis F, Wiguna T, Wulan NR, Devaera Y, Medise BE, Riyanti A, Wiweko B, Cini KI, Tran T, Fisher J, Luchters S, Azzopardi PS

  • Journal Lancet Reg Health SE Asia

  • Published 01 Jun 2023

  • Volume 13

  • Pagination 100187

  • DOI



Adolescence is a development period marked by the onset of a new set of health needs. The present study sought to quantify the prevalence of foregone care (not seeking medical care when needed) and identify which adolescents are at greater risk of having unmet healthcare needs.


A multi-stage random sampling strategy was used to recruit school participants (grade 10–12) in two provinces in Indonesia. Respondent driven sampling was used to recruit out-of-school adolescents in the community. All participants completed a self-reported questionnaire which measured healthcare seeking behaviours, psychosocial wellbeing, use of healthcare services, and perceived barriers to accessing healthcare. Multivariable regression analysis was performed to examine factors associated with foregone care.


A total of 2161 adolescents participated in the present study and nearly one in four adolescents reported foregone care in the past year. Experiences of poly-victimisation and seeking care for mental health needs increased the risk of foregone care. In-school adolescents who reported psychological distress [adjusted risk ratio (aRR) = 1.88, 95%CI = 1.48–2.38] or had high body mass index (aRR = 1.25, 95%CI = 1.00–1.57) were at greater risk of foregone care. The leading reason for foregone care was lack of knowledge of available services. In-school adolescents predominantly reported non-access barriers to care (e.g., perception of the health concern or anxiety about accessing care) whereas most out-of-school adolescents reported access barriers (e.g., did not know where to get care or could not pay).


Foregone care is common among Indonesian adolescents, especially in adolescents with mental and physical health risks. Differences between in-school and out-of-school adolescents suggest that interventions to promote appropriate healthcare use will need tailoring. Further research is needed to determine causal relationships around barriers in access to healthcare.


Australia-Indonesia Centre.