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Open AccessArticle

Family Planning Practices in Appalachia: Focus Group Perspectives on Service Needs in the Context of Regional Substance Abuse

1
School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, VA 23284, USA
2
School of Nursing, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, NY 14260, USA
3
School of Social Work, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, NY 14260, USA
4
Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, NY 14260, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041198
Received: 10 December 2019 / Revised: 31 January 2020 / Accepted: 11 February 2020 / Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women's Reproductive and Maternal Health)
Reproductive health disparities in the Appalachian region may be driven by barriers to healthcare access. However, the barriers specific to accessing family planning services in Appalachia have not yet been identified from the perspectives of Appalachian community members. Moreover, it is unclear how community members might perceive elevated levels of opioid use in the region to impact family planning practices. To fill this gap in knowledge, the current qualitative study explored community perspectives about family planning in Appalachia in the context of the opioid epidemic for the purpose of developing a survey instrument based on these responses. We conducted three video call focus group interviews with community stakeholders, those who live, work and are invested in Appalachia (N = 16), and analyzed the responses using Levesque, Harris, and Russell’s (2013) five pillars of healthcare access as a framework to categorize family planning practices and perceptions of service needs in the context of regional substance abuse: (1) approachability, (2) acceptability, (3) availability and accommodation, (4) affordability, and (5) appropriateness. Subthemes within each of these five categories were also identified. Our findings highlight stakeholder concerns around a lack of knowledge about and access to family planning services in Appalachia. Community members also expressed concern around the lack of availability of substance use treatment services, which may negatively impact family planning use and access in the region. View Full-Text
Keywords: reproductive health; pregnancy; contraception; rural health; opioid use; healthcare access; Appalachia reproductive health; pregnancy; contraception; rural health; opioid use; healthcare access; Appalachia
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Swan, L.E.T.; Auerbach, S.L.; Ely, G.E.; Agbemenu, K.; Mencia, J.; Araf, N.R. Family Planning Practices in Appalachia: Focus Group Perspectives on Service Needs in the Context of Regional Substance Abuse. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1198.

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