Date of Conferral
After individuals sustain a spinal cord injury, all aspects of their lifestyle must change for them to manage their new life roles. One important area of recovery that is often not addressed during the rehabilitation process is sexual functioning. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine how doctor communication about sexual health with women who have sustained spinal cord injuries predicts their levels of sexual functioning and sexual self-esteem. The theoretical framework was the sexual health model. Questionnaires were used to gather data from 45 women who had completed rehabilitation from spinal cord injuries. Level of current sexual functioning was measured using the Female Sexual Function Index. Sexual self-esteem was measured using the Multidimensional Sexual Self-Concept Questionnaire. Satisfaction with doctor-patient communication was measured using the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire and Perceived Self-Efficacy in Patient-Physician Interactions-Sex. Findings from correlation analysis indicated a positive correlation between general satisfaction with doctor-patient communication and confidence to communicate with the doctor about sexual health. Results also indicated a negative correlation between sexual self-esteem and sexual functioning. Findings may be used to improve communication between doctors and patients about sexual health, which may reduce the stigma of talking about sexuality and may promote more holistic treatment for women recovering from spinal cord injuries.