Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Laura Mauldin; Matthew Singer

Honors Major

Political Science


American Politics | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Disability Studies | Health Policy | Health Psychology | Inequality and Stratification | International Public Health | Politics and Social Change | Public Health Education and Promotion | Rural Sociology | Transportation | Women's Health


This paper analyzes healthcare access for individuals with disabilities living in rural areas. In current political discussion, we typically think of insurance coverage as the metric to analyze healthcare access. However, as demonstrated by studies of healthcare in the United Kingdom, people with disabilities continue to face barriers to health care even with universal healthcare systems. In particular, individuals in rural areas have less healthcare access than urban residents. This is due to factors including socioeconomic status, insurance coverage, access to competent care, and transportation. This study aims to understand if disability status exacerbates the issue of access in rural areas. This paper reviews how location impacts care access through quantitative analysis of datasets regarding preventative care for individuals with disabilities. This work has found that preventative care including routine check-ups and mammograms are accessed more frequently in increasingly metropolitan areas. Some factors including dental care and mammograms also had disparities in care for disabled and nondisabled populations. These factors are viewed through the lens of the social model of disability, addressing whether rural areas are constructed in a way that supports healthcare access for people with disabilities.