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Type: Journal article
Title: The meanings soldiers attach to health and their impacts on primary health-care utilization and avoidance in an Australian high-risk combat unit
Author: Dabovich, P.A.
Eliott, J.
McFarlane, A.
Citation: Armed Forces and Society, 2021; 47(2):1-21
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 0095-327X
Statement of
Paula A. Dabovich, Jaklin A. Eliott and Alexander C. McFarlane
Abstract: It is widely accepted many health and mental health conditions experienced by veterans may be prevented or reduced in severity through early primary health-care intervention, yet research suggests high levels of health-care avoidance in this population. The aim of this study was to examine the meanings military personnel attached to health and how these impacted health-care utilization. To achieve this, 50 hours of primary interview data were obtained from 13 Australian Army combat personnel undergoing rehabilitation, which were thematically analyzed. Results support previous findings that engagement with health-care services was perceived to negatively impact career and deployment opportunities; however, these issues were marginal to perceptions of losing personal agency when engaging with the health-care system for physical and psychological concerns, which resulted in mistrust of it. We argue issues of mistrust underscore health-care avoidance in the military and recommend primary health-care principles be incorporated into to garrison health services.
Keywords: health care; military culture; Australia/NZ; Veterans
Rights: © The Author(s) 2019
DOI: 10.1177/0095327X19852652
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