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Sawin, Kathleen J.; Buran, Constance F.; Brei, Timothy J.; Fastenau, Philip S. (2002)
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: Article
Identifiers:pmc:PMC1595090
Substantial progress in the medical treatment of individuals with spina bifida (SB) has increased the numbers who survive into adolescence and adulthood. However, sexual health in this population has not received much attention. This study explored the knowledge (SB Sexuality Knowledge Scale), worries (SB Worries Scale), romantic appeal (from Harter's Self-Perception Scale), and access to sexuality information of a sample of 60 adolescents from a midwestern state. Study participants reported having sexual feelings like their peers, and they knew they could contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if they were sexually active. However, only a moderate percentage was aware that women with SB are fertile, that adolescent women with SB should take a multivitamin with folic acid, and that latex-free condoms should be used by most adolescents with SB. They did not worry about their ability to make friends; however, these adolescents reported low levels of perceived romantic appeal and they worried about sexuality issues. These sexuality issues were not correlated to measures of SB neurological severity. Although over 50% reported having discussed sexuality with a health professional, 29% reported no one discussed sexuality and SB with them. Data from this study can affect the way health care providers and educators conduct sexuality education in health care and school settings.
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