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Original Research

Health decision-making among rural women: physician access and prescription adherence

Submitted: 28 August 2010
Revised: 20 December 2010
Published: 11 March 2011

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Author(s) : Carlton EL, Simmons L.

Erik CarltonLeigh Ann Simmons

Citation: Carlton EL, Simmons L.  Health decision-making among rural women: physician access and prescription adherence. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2011; 11: 1599. Available: (Accessed 17 October 2017)


Introduction: Rural residents and women have been identified as forming US population groups who experience health disparities, including access barriers to health care. Rural women are at significantly higher risk for poor health outcomes than their urban counterparts, and they are the 'gatekeepers' of their families’ health, thus influencing the health of the broader community. Not seeking or adhering to care recommendations may extend the course of disease, thereby protracting patients’ problems and increasing the burden of disease on the community. In this research, factors were examined related to physician access and prescription adherence among rural, low-income women.
Methods: Data from Rural Families Speak (n = 266), a US multi-state study, were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression.
Results: Women with depressive symptoms and more chronic health conditions were less likely to access a physician, while those who had health insurance and perceived greater physician availability were more likely to access a physician. Health insured women were less likely to delay or forgo filling prescriptions.
Conclusions: Interventions in rural areas should increase knowledge about available primary care services and prescription assistance programs.

Key words:  health decision-making, physician access, prescription adherence, rural, USA, women.

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