Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

Second Advisor

Barbara Golden, PsyD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Joanne Kakaty-Monzo, DO


As the number of women veterans in the United States increases, additional attention has been given to understanding their healthcare experiences within the Veterans Health Administration. However, much of the current literature exploring women veterans has been qualitative and little research has examined quantitative relationships between experiences in the VA healthcare system and gynecologic health behaviors and outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate potential factors (health literacy, social problem-solving abilities, and perceived gender discrimination) that may predict gynecologic health behaviors in women veterans. This study included 145 anonymous participants. Participants completed screening questions and demographic and health information questionnaires, in addition to the Health Literacy Instrument for Adults, Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised-Short Form, and Discrimination in Medical Settings Scale. Two-thirds of women veterans in this study reported experiencing some form of gender discrimination while receiving healthcare at the VA (67.6%, N = 98). There was a significant relationship between perceived gender-based discrimination and obtaining contraceptives from the VA, χ2 (2,145) = 6.152, p = .046). Women veterans who reported experiences of perceived gender-based discrimination were more likely to receive contraceptives from the VA than those who did not report perceived discrimination. Experiences of perceived gender discrimination were predictive of the use of the VA for more than 50% of healthcare needs (p < .01), obtaining contraception from the VA (p < .01), and having a cervical cancer screening performed at the VA (p = .01). Clinical implications and future directions are also discussed.

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