Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Whereas disability is a significant risk factor and contributor to various chronic conditions that lead to decline in the quality of life and to early death among older US Armed Forces veterans (> 64 years), little research exists focused on more granular levels of analysis to determine community level risk factors (such as rurality) associated with disability prevalence. A quantitative and cross-sectional design used 2010 – 2014 and 2015 – 2019 data sets from the United States Census Bureau American Community Survey. Results obtained have shown that disability is most prevalent among the older (>64) veteran population, overtime, rates are getting worse, rural areas are most affected, and primary care physicians are needed in areas where rates of disability is high. The findings help to improve our understanding of disability prevalence among older veterans and non-veterans and provide a foundation for the development and implementation of appropriate geographically targeted policy and program interventions to support the development and enhancement of services made at the federal, state, and local/community levels. Through effective interventions, the risk of having increased rates of poor health status, poor quality of life, and risk of death can be reduced substantially, particularly among older veterans in rural areas of the United States.
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