Elizabeth Grigg Principal Lecturer, Institute of Health Studies, University of Plymouth
Despite a growing awareness that people with learning disabilities should have the same rights as everyone else, sexual issues are often ignored. Elizabeth Grigg uncovers the reasons why
Research by Thompson (1990) has shown that attitudes towards sexuality among professionals have become even more conservative over the last 17 years. The results from a study she carried out with 120 general nurses indicated that their knowledge scores were lower and their attitudes were more conservative than for a group tested in 1973. Studies by Webb (1987), Bor and Watts (1993) and Waterhouse (1996) showed that nurses felt embarrassed and inadequately trained to initiate discussions of sexuality matters with clients or patients. My own research and experience has also shown that teachers of nursing rarely broach the subject of sexuality with students (Grigg 1994) and it is often lost in the curriculum within the safety of anatomy, physiology, reproduction and altered body function. The sensuality aspect of sexuality is avoided.
Learning Disability Practice.
3, 5, 16-21.
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