Title

Are Sociodemographic Characteristics, Education and Training, and Attitudes Toward Older Adults' Sexuality Predictive of Willingness to Assess Sexual Health in a Sample of US Psychologists?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Studies suggest an association between older adults’ sexual health and quality of life. Despite this, previous research suggests a lack of assessment of older adults’ sexual health. To understand this gap, we examined predictors of practicing psychologists’ attitudes to and assessment of the sexual health of older adults. This study utilized purposive online sampling to recruit 119 US practicing psychologists (median years licensed=11). Participants completed questionnaires on sociodemographics, education and training, and were randomized to a vignette condition depicting a middle-aged or older adult with mood and sexual health concerns. Following the vignette, participants completed a survey on attitudes and their willingness to assess patients’ sexual health. Participants’ vignette condition, sociodemographics, clinical education, experience, and specialty did not predict attitudes toward older adults’ sexuality. However, results indicated that negative attitudes toward older adults’ sexuality (p=.01) and sexuality education and training (p=.001) predicted psychologists’ willingness to assess sexual health. Results indicate that in order to increase psychologists’ assessments of older adults’ sexual health, interventions should focus on changing attitudes toward older adults’ sexuality, and increasing psychologists’ sexuality education and training.

Publication Title

Sexual and Relationship Therapy

DOI

10.1080/14681994.2014.948297