Racial and Sociodemographic Disparities in Internet Access and eHealth Intervention Utilization Among Veteran Smokers.
INTRODUCTION: Access to the internet at home may be an important barrier to electronic health (eHealth) smoking cessation interventions. The current study explored possible sociodemographic disparities in access to the internet at home among veteran smokers. METHODS: Data from participants proactively recruited and enrolled in a randomized smoking cessation effectiveness trial (N = 408) that compared a web-based smoking cessation intervention to Veterans Affairs (VA) usual care were used to examine the demographic attributes of smokers with and without internet access at home. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine associations between demographic factors and home internet access. Data from patients randomized to the internet arm of the study (N = 205) were used to ascertain correlates of utilization of the intervention website. RESULTS: While the majority of the sample (82 %) endorsed access to the internet at home, veterans who were African-American, older, and not married were significantly less likely to have home internet access. Veterans who were African-American, older, less educated, had longer travel times to the nearest VA facility, and increased nicotine dependence were less likely to access the internet on a daily basis. While several sociodemographic variables (e.g., age, race, education, employment) were related to utilization of a free membership to a commercial, web-based smoking cessation intervention in bivariate analyses, only access to the internet at home was related to use of the smoking cessation site in adjusted results. CONCLUSION: These results highlight gaps in internet access and use among veterans and additionally underscore the importance of improving accessibility of eHealth interventions for low-income, minority, and socially disadvantaged veteran populations.
Calhoun, PS; Wilson, SM; Hicks, TA; Thomas, SP; Dedert, EA; Hair, LP; Bastian, LA; Beckham, JC
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