, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 71-83

Design and Evaluation of an Internet Site to Educate Women with Disabilities on Reproductive Health Care

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Abstract

Women with disabilities often do not receive adequate reproductive health care. In order to improve their health, they need to be better informed. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if the Internet can effectively be used to educate women with disabilities about reproductive health. A time-series design was utilized in which the knowledge of each participant was tested before and after she toured an Internet site on reproductive health. The women were also surveyed for demographic data and for their comments on the site. To be included in the study, a woman had to be over the age of eighteen and have a mobility impairment. Twenty-six women from the United States and Canada participated in the study. Like other Internet users, they were predominately white, highly educated, and relatively affluent. They used the Internet primarily for communication (e-mail). One of the most significant findings in this study was that, although the women surveyed were highly educated, they had fundamental deficits in their knowledge of reproductive health. Thus, although these women did not match other women with disabilities demographically, they shared a need for education on reproductive health. A second significant finding was that the web site was effective in increasing the participants' knowledge of reproductive health. This was indicated by the statistically significant 10.00% increase in post-test scores over pre-test scores and by the women's positive feedback. Thus, the Internet site developed for this pilot study did prove to be a valuable education tool. As the Internet continues to expand and users continue to diversify, health education sites of this type should become even more effective in helping women with disabilities to break down traditional barriers and lead healthier lives.