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Wellness Models and Sexuality Among Women with Physical Disabilities

Nosek MA, Howland CA, Young ME, Georgiou D, Rintala DH, Foley CC, Bennett JL, Smith Q. Wellness models and sexuality among women with physical disabilities. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling 1994;25(1):50-58.


This article considers sexuality among women with physical disabilities from a wellness perspective by presenting the results of the first phase of a 3-year, NIH-funded study. This phase was a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with 31 women with a variety of physical disabilities, representing diverse racial and ethnic minorities and socioeconomic levels. Analytic induction and constant comparison were used for data analysis. Preliminary results show that, from a wellness perspective, the areas of sexuality identified in the data analysis can be grouped into 5 domains: 1) having a positive sexual self-concept, 2) having sexuality information, 3) having positive, productive relationships, 4) managing barriers (social, environmental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse), and 5) maintaining optimal health and physical sexual functioning. These findings are compared to the various components of wellness models, including physical, psychological, spiritual, developmental, and sociocultural, with a discussion of implications for scientific research and policy-making.

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