Social and sexual relationships of adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy: A review

Diana J H G Wiegerink*, Marij E. Roebroeck, Mireille Donkervoort, Henk J. Stam, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To investigate possible barriers to successful social and sexual relationships in adolescents and young adults of normal intelligence with cerebral palsy. Design: A literature review based on a PubMed and PsycINFO search for the period 1990-2003. Included were studies focusing on one or more of the outcome parameters (i.e. social, intimate and sexual relationships) or on associated factors that described relationships with the outcome parameters. Results: Fourteen papers were selected. Two studies investigated exclusively people with cerebral palsy whereas 12 concerned people with a congenital disability and/or physical disabilities, including people with cerebral palsy. All studies addressed adolescents or adults of normal intelligence. A. Social and sexual relationships: In social relationships adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy were less active than their age mates, and dating was often delayed and less frequent. Adolescents with congenital disabilities indicated that sexuality is an important aspect of their lives, but they experienced difficulties developing a sexual relationship. B. Associated factors: Psychological maladjustment, insufficient self-efficacy and low sexual self-esteem may impair the development of social and sexual relationships. Overprotection in raising children with cerebral palsy and the negative attitudes of other people may have a negative influence on the self-efficacy of people with cerebral palsy. Conclusion: The reviewed studies suggest many factors that may influence the development of social and sexual relationships in adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy. However, evidence was found only for the personal factors self-efficacy and sexual self-esteem and their interrelationships with the parents' way of raising their children and successful experiences in social situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1031
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Volume20
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006

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