Date of Award

1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Physical Therapy (M.S.)

Department

Physical Therapy

First Advisor

B. Curry

Second Advisor

R. Paschke

Third Advisor

B. Baker

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the physical therapist's role in sexual education of spinal cord injured patients during inpatient rehabilitation. Descriptive data were collected by questionnaire from 72 licensed physical therapists working in CARF accredited inpatient spinal cord injury units. The results indicated that although therapists rated sexual education as an important and appropriate topic in physical therapy, they addressed sexual issues only 46% of the time and initiated these discussions only 30% of the time. Significant correlation was present between the frequency of addressing and initiating discussions of sexuality and the therapists' preparedness and comfort level in discussing issues of sexuality. This indicates a need for further education for physical therapists on the topic of sexuality and disability. It is essential for the profession of physical therapy to define its role in sexual education and provide standards for therapists' education in order to better meet the needs of clients.

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