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Women Veterans' Barriers to Care-Seeking for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.

Nursing Research 2024 January
BACKGROUND: Women veterans have a high prevalence of traditional and nontraditional risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD) including obesity and posttraumatic stress disorder. Experts from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have called for actions to improve the cardiovascular health of this population. One approach is to assess women veterans' barriers to care-seeking for CVD prevention, to inform future intervention research.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to describe women veterans' barriers to care-seeking for CVD prevention, guided by the theory of care-seeking behavior and concept awareness.

METHODS: Using a cross-sectional, descriptive design, a national sample of 245 women veterans participated in an online survey about barriers to care-seeking. Participants provided narrative responses to open-ended items, endorsements to closed-ended items, and rankings of their top five barriers. Researchers conducted poststratification weighting of numerical data to reflect the women veteran population.

RESULTS: Narrative responses described unaffordable and inaccessible services, feeling harassed or not respected in healthcare settings, and lack of awareness of risks for CVD. Frequently endorsed barriers were unaffordable and inaccessible services. Frequently ranked barriers were feeling not respected in healthcare settings and clinicians not recommending CVD prevention.

DISCUSSION: Findings support concepts in theory of care-seeking behavior and concept awareness. Understanding women veterans' barriers to care-seeking for CVD prevention can inform clinicians and researchers as they address these barriers.

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