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PhD ceremony Ms. J.E.A. Verschuren: Sexuality and limb amputation: perspective of patients, partners and professionals

When:We 20-11-2013 at 14:30

PhD ceremony: Ms. J.E.A. Verschuren, 14.30 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Sexuality and limb amputation: perspective of patients, partners and professionals

Promotor(s): prof. J.H.B. Geertzen, prof. P.U. Dijkstra, prof. P. Enzlin

Faculty: Medical Sciences

The focus of this thesis is on the possible influence of an upper or lower limb amputation on someone’s sexuality. People with a limb amputation, their partners, and professionals working with people with a limb amputation, were interviewed and/or filled out a questionnaire about their views and experiences concerning the topic of sexuality and amputation.

Following a review about the influence of a chronic disease/disability on someone’s sexual functioning or sexual well-being, revealing that there is (limited) information available about this topic, and following interviews with both patients and partners, a large scale quantitative study about sexuality and limb amputation was set up. Twenty percent of all participants in this quantitative study (n=301) indicated that they experienced at least one sexual problem. In the interview studies both people with an amputation and their partners reported that their sexual lives had changed after the amputation. This change could be both positive and negative. Despite these changes, many of the participants of the quantitative and qualitative studies reported that sexuality was seldom discussed during their rehabilitation process. Most of these participants would have liked to have been (better) informed about sexuality after a limb amputation. Therefore, professionals were also asked to fill out a survey on ‘sexuality and limb amputation’. The participating professionals indicated that sexuality indeed needs to be discussed during the rehabilitation process, but at the same time they indicated that they felt rather insecure about doing so, since they experienced a lack of knowledge and conversation skills concerning this topic.

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