Research Reports - Factors associated with sexuality following traumatic brain injury

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2013 May-Jun;28(3):195-201

Ponsford JL, Downing MG, Stolwyk R

BACKGROUND: : Previous research has demonstrated that sexuality is compromised
following traumatic brain injury (TBI).
OBJECTIVES: : The aim of this study was to determine the association between
sexuality following TBI and demographic, injury-related, and postinjury variables
(age, gender, time since injury, posttraumatic amnesia duration, independence in
activities of daily activities (ADL), antidepressant use, depression, and
self-esteem).
METHODS: : Participants included 986 individuals with predominantly moderate to
severe TBI, who completed the Brain Injury Questionnaire of Sexuality (BIQS), the
Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and an
ADL assessment on 1 or more occasions, providing a total of 1673 assessments
across 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, and 20 years postinjury.
RESULTS: : Being depressed, older in age, at shorter time postinjury, and less
independent in ADL significantly predicted poorer overall BIQS scores as well as
the Sexual Functioning subscale score. Poorer Relationship Quality and
Self-esteem scores on the BIQS were predicted by older age at injury and higher
levels of depression. Lower Mood score on the BIQS was associated with shorter
posttraumatic amnesia duration, younger age, and higher levels of depression.
Self-esteem was associated positively with sexuality outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: : Therapeutic interventions for sexuality need to focus on
depression where indicated and self-esteem and address specific barriers to
social participation and opportunities for sexual contact in individuals who are
less independent in ADL.

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