Lauri J. East

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Treena Orchard


Guided by a constructivist paradigm, this qualitative research study used a multidimensional form of narrative inquiry in order to understand the experiences of learning about sexuality among adolescents with physical disabilities, and in turn, how these experiences influence the way they view themselves as sexual beings.

For the purposes of this research, in-depth narrative interviews were conducted with adolescents who have physical disabilities and parents of youth with physical disabilities, as well as a focus group with health professionals. The findings from this study demonstrate that these adolescents often face challenges in accessing disability- specific sex information due to a lack of appropriate resources, discomfort with the topic among educators, health professionals and parents, as well as the pervasive social myth that views people with disabilities as asexual. The data from this study contributes to the literature about sexuality among adolescents with physical disabilities by drawing attention to this important but often overlooked issue, as well as offering recommendations for future resource development that could help empower these youth with the knowledge and skills needed to engage in safe, healthy and fulfilling relationships.



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