Date of Award
Occupational Therapy Doctorate
Jennifer Weaver, PhD, OTR/L, CBIS
Background: There is very little research examining how specific education about older adult sexual health and sexual activity may improve occupational therapy practitioners’ knowledge and attitudes towards geriatric sexuality. Research is also limited as to how knowledge about older adult sexual health and sexual activity is applied in clinical practice. Therefore, it is important to investigate to what extent education in older adult sexual matters impacts occupational therapy practitioners’ knowledge, attitudes, and clinical practice.
Objective: To examine and explore occupational therapy practitioners’ knowledge, attitudes, and clinical practice in the areas of older adult sexual health and sexual activity. Study Design: Sequential explanatory mixed methods. Participants: Occupational therapy practitioners practicing in any setting who have experience working with older adults.
Methods: Participants completed a pretest using the Aging Sexual Knowledge and Attitudes Scale (ASKAS), viewed an online educational course on the topic of older adult sexuality, and then completed a posttest ASKAS. The pretest posttest data was examined for normality, correlation, and whether there was a statistically significant difference in knowledge and attitudes. A convenience sample of subjects from the online educational course were selected to participate in a 30–40-minute semi-structured interview to explore the experience and perceptions of occupational therapy practitioners regarding older adult sexual health and sexual activity in their clinical practice. Thematic analysis of the qualitative interview transcripts followed an inductive holistic approach using in-vivo and emergent coding to create categories that described the participants’ experiences and perceptions.
Results:Forty-four occupational therapy practitioners completed the online educational course 4 and ASKAS pre- and post-test. Statistically significant improvement in pretest posttest scores for knowledge (p
Conclusions: Continuing education regarding older adult sexual health and sexual activity had a positive effect on the occupational therapy practitioners’ knowledge, but not on the attitudes section of the ASKAS. The online educational course and interview process prompted the therapists to reflect on their implicit bias surrounding sexual matters for older adults. The lack of existing education available on the topic of older adult sexuality for occupational therapy students and practitioners presents a significant need for increased content and clinical experience in this area.
occupational therapy, sexuality, older adult, knowledge, attitude
Chilton, Robin Lynn, "Addressing Occupational Therapy Practitioners’ Knowledge and Attitudes about Older Adult Sexual Health and Sexual Activity through Continuing Education" (2021). Doctor of Occupational Therapy Capstone Projects. 1.