Sexuality and the adolescent with a physical disability: understandings and misunderstandings

Issues Compr Pediatr Nurs. Oct-Dec 1999;22(4):183-96. doi: 10.1080/014608699265275.


The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the areas of sexual knowledge, sexual behavior, and beliefs about sexuality among adolescents with congenital physical disabilities. The sample consisted of 15 males and 14 females, ranging in age from 12 to 22 years. The Sexual Knowledge Interview Schedule (SKIS) was administered to all participants during face-to-face interviews. In addition, the participants were asked questions regarding their ability to engage in intimate relationships and their future childbearing potential. Overall, the findings suggested that these adolescents are uninformed or misinformed about general sexual knowledge, have many misconceptions about sexuality and their disability, and depend on health care professionals and parents for sex education. Implications of this research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Body Image
  • Child
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Sex Education
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires