Health Beliefs of Active Duty Army Women: Barriers To Well Woman Examinations
Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States
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The diagnosis of breast or cervical cancer will be given to over two million women in the United States during the 1990s. Recommendations for clinical breast examination and Papanicolaou Pap smear as a preventive health examination are advocated by the American Academy of Family Physicians AAFP, the American Cancer Society ACS and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ACOG. Army Regulation outlines annual examination requirements for active duty Army women. The Barriers construct of the Health Belief Model HBM was used as the conceptual framework to guide this study. A descriptive study design was used to identify compliance, perceived barriers, and intent to seek well woman examinations. Questionnaires were distributed to 65 active duty Army women using a convenience sample from Army units located in the northeast United States. A Barriers Scale devised by Melynk was modified and four subscales were assessed providerconsumer relationship, site related, fear, and inconvenience. The combined subscales were also evaluated. A Likert Scale was used to assess barriers to seeking well woman examinations and ratings on the Likert scale were none, slight, moderate, and great regarding barriers. While all women did not report having a clinical breast examination and Pap smear in the past 12 months, 71 and 77 respectively complied. The modified Barriers Scale revealed that only the providerconsumer relationship subscale was a barrier to seeking well woman care, and this was particularly noted by items regarding continuity of care and the ability to pick a good provider. Other constructs of the HBM need to be studied to determine if they affect compliance.