Friday, 29 June 2012

Sexuality and young people with intellectual disability: Mothers' views

The final peer review scientific journal paper from our joint research with Andrew Jahoda and Jaycee Pownall of Glasgow University, on sexuality and young people with intellectual disability, has just been published:

Pownall, J. D., Jahoda, A., & Hastings, R. P. (2012). Sexuality and sex education of adolescents with intellectual disabilities: Mothers’ attitudes, experiences, and support needs. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 50, 140-154.
See link for abstract (summary of the paper)
http://aaiddjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1352/1934-9556-50.2.140 


An easy read summary of the findings from the research can be downloaded at:

http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-000-22-3124/outputs/Read/c8086eb2-d71c-4129-9bac-c931f7c359c7

A briefing paper for professionals and policy makers:

http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-000-22-3124/outputs/Read/032e8627-8dde-460e-a996-4a37197aeb60

The overall aim of the research was to understand mothers' views about sexuality and their young adult children with intellectual disability. Some headline findings included that mothers of young adult children with intellectual disability:



Found it even harder to talk to their young adult children with ID about sexual matters than their other non-disabled children
Often believed that these young adults were not as interested in developing sexual relationships and had fewer sexual feelings
Believed they had fewer chances to have a girlfriend or boyfriend or to start a sexual relationship
Delayed talking about sex with them, as they felt it was less urgent
Found it more challenging to know when to talk about sex because their child did not ask questions about it
When sex was talked about, focussed on being clear about what is appropriate and inappropriate sexual behaviour
Found it hard to strike a balance between independence and protection
Felt there was a lack of information and support to help them address their children’s needs and tended to leave this up to schools/colleges
Felt they didn’t have enough knowledge about intellectual disability and its impact on their child’s sexuality
Were unsure if their child could understand information given to them about sex

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