Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Peggy J. Cantrell

Committee Members

Joellen B. Edwards, Stacey L. Williams


Between one quarter and one third of all primary care patients meet criteria for at least one mental disorder. However, many women are not screened for mental disorders as recommended by the literature. Some studies suggest even lower rates of screening and treatment in rural areas. This researcher sought to identify barriers and facilitators to mental and behavioral health screening and treatment for women in primary care and solicit feedback on how to ameliorate perceived barriers. Given the limited extant data describing rural Appalachian women’s perceptions of barriers and facilitators to receiving mental health services an exploratory qualitative analysis was conducted. Eighteen individual interviews with female primary care patients were conducted. Results identified stigma, lack of support, and lack of patient education around mental health as major barriers; facilitators included integrated care and positive experiences with providers. Directions for future research and implications for behavioral health practice in rural primary care are discussed.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.