Date

2014

Major

Health Sciences for Health Education & Promotion (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Ashley Walker

Abstract

Individuals living with disabilities have more unmet health needs, poorer health outcomes, and less access to health services than those without a disability. Individuals living with disabilities in rural areas experience greater disparities to accessing health care and other health resources. The purpose of this study was to assess barriers and facilitators of access to health and support services for adolescents living with disabilities in a rural area. Interviews were conducted with parents/guardians in order to assess the needs surrounding access to health care and support services among adolescents living with disabilities in Bulloch County. Interviews were audio-recorded with the permission of the participants. The audio-recordings were then transcribed verbatim by the researcher and content analysis was used to identify common themes that emerged from the data. Through the in-depth interviews researchers were able to find distinctive barriers, such as limited resources in the community, that impede access to support and health services, therefore impacting quality of life of adolescents living with disabilities in rural areas. This study might serve as catalyst for future studies to address the barriers that were identified by the participants. Community and public health programming targeted towards adolescents living with disabilities should work in conjunction with the school system as they work closely with the families and serve as a good outlet to disperse information.

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