Research Reports - What is known about sexual health after pediatric acquired brain injury

NeuroRehabilitation. 2017 Sep 16. doi: 10.3233/NRE-172197. [Epub ahead of print]

Simpson G(1)(2), Simons-Coghill M(3), Bates A(4), Gan C(5).

BACKGROUND: Positive sexual development is a core task in the transition from
childhood/adolescence to adulthood. Little is known about the extent of research
addressing this topic after acquired brain injury (ABI).
OBJECTIVE: To identify publications (1980 to 2016) addressing positive sexual
health among children/adolescents with ABI.
METHODS: A scoping review.
RESULTS: A search conducted using OVID and PubMed databases yielded 2021
citations with 28 publications meeting the inclusion criteria (six reviews, one
expert account, 19 observational and two intervention studies). Teenagers with
ABI reported poorer body image, feeling less sexually or physically attractive
than sex and age matched non brain-damaged controls. The one study with findings
on sexual orientation, reported 15% of adolescents with ABI identified as
lesbian, gay or bisexual. Precocious puberty was a rare outcome from ABI, but the
most common focus of the publications (14/28). Finally, two case studies (genital
touching and classroom masturbation respectively) found that behavioral
interventions were an effective means of extinguishing inappropriate sexual
behaviour after childhood ABI.
CONCLUSIONS: Sexual health is a neglected area of research in post-ABI care for
children/adolescents. A better understanding of the needs and challenges will
help rehabilitation professionals and parents provide more informed and effective
supports. 

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