Sexual health; Sex instruction for people with disabilities--United States
The purpose of this study was to evaluate, from the perspective of an occupational therapist, what experiences or education created competent health professionals with regard to addressing sexual health concerns and to gather suggestions on how to increase the confidence of therapists about sexual health in the profession as a whole. A qualitative design with a semi-structured interview was used to gather data from two therapists with extensive experience addressing sexual health for people with physical disabilities. Data from the interviews revealed four major categories with subthemes. (1) ‘Why Address Sexual Health?’: Just Part of OT’s Job!, Enhancing Quality of Life, and To Open Communication. (2) ‘How to Gain Competence in Sexual Health’: Formal Education, Medical Knowledge, and Continued Learning. (3) ‘How to Gain Confidence about Sexual Health’ with subthemes: Personality and Practice. (4) ‘Suggestions for New (or Nervous) Practitioners’: PRACTICE! and Find Resources. This study indicates the importance of addressing sexual health concerns for clients, as it can have a great impact on quality of life. The participants in the study suggested achievable ways for occupational therapists to increase their knowledge base and comfort with the topic, so the unique skills of a practitioner can be used to enhance sexual health, as well as other meaningful activities.
Date of Completion
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)
Date of Award
University of Puget Sound