Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Kelly Foster

Committee Members

Martha Copp, Melissa Schrift


For decades, healthcare access and quality in central and southern Appalachia have trailed the rest of the country. Entrenched poverty and low educational attainment compound healthcare problems. This study examines the healthcare obstacles women encounter in southern and central Appalachia and analyzes how technology use, such as Internet searching and social media affect women’s healthcare decisions. Data were analyzed from four focus groups conducted with women from the region. Results indicate that seeing a physician or not did not influence women’s propensity to search the Internet for health-related information or to seek support through social media sites. Additionally, women reported facing many barriers including trust in local physicians, access, availability, cost, and quality of healthcare. These issues often impede women’s access to preventative care and place burdens on their health and an already strained healthcare system.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.