Knowledge and attitudes of older adults about sexuality in ageing: a comparison of two studies

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Steinke, Elaine E.

Journal of advanced nursing. 1994 Mar; 19(3): 477-85.


Two studies using separate samples sought to explore differences among male and female elders on their knowledge, attitudes, and sexual behaviour using a nonexperimental approach. Two different samples from separate health and wellness groups were surveyed using the Aging Sexual Knowledge and Attitude Scale (White 1982). Additional data were collected on sexual satisfaction, sexual activity, and demographic variables. In the first study, questionnaires were mailed to the homes of 759 members of the wellness group. The second study was conducted in a similar manner, but with random selection of 400 males and 400 females. Both groups showed a moderate amount of knowledge and permissive attitudes with no significant differences observed between males and females. Reported sexual satisfaction was variable. Subjects were sexually active with activity varying from 0 to 30 times per month, with a mean of 4 times per month. Findings suggest that males and females are comparable on their knowledge and attitudes about sexuality in ageing and most are sexually active. Many are seeking further information on the impact of chronic illness and medications on sexuality.

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