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Contextual Facilitators and Barriers of Community Reintegration Among Injured Female Military Veterans: A Qualitative Study

Published:August 30, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2017.07.018

      Abstract

      Objective

      To understand the facilitators and barriers to community reintegration (CR) among injured female veterans.

      Design

      Phenomenologic qualitative design.

      Setting

      Community.

      Participants

      Community-dwelling female veterans with physical and/or psychological injury (N=13).

      Interventions

      None.

      Main Outcome Measures

      None.

      Results

      Conventional content analysis revealed 3 types of facilitators, including (1) strong social support, (2) impactful programs, and (3) protective personal beliefs. Six types of barriers included (1) inadequate services, (2) lack of access to services, (3) poor social support, (4) difficulty trusting others, (5) nonsupportive personal beliefs, and (6) injury factors. Multiple environmental and personal factors acted as facilitators and barriers to CR. Findings are relatively consistent with previous veteran and civilian community reintegration research that indicates the importance of health-related services, attitudes of others, and social support. However, women in this study reported being effected by many of these facilitators and barriers because of their sex.

      Conclusions

      This study supports the need to foster social support among injured female veterans throughout the rehabilitation process to promote CR. Long-term social support can be gained by incorporating services (eg, adjunctive therapies, recreation, other social programming) into the rehabilitation repertoire to help with CR for all veterans, particularly women.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CR (community reintegration), MST (military sexual trauma), PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), VHA (Veterans Health Administration)
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