Perspectives on sexuality and rehabilitation needs following traumatic motor vehicle injuries: A mixed methodological study

Mrs  Caitlin Fulton1, Dr Stacey  George2, Dr  Christopher  Barr2, Mrs  Kylie Smith1

1Lifetime Support Authority, Adelaide , Australia , 2Flinders University , Adelaide, Australia

Background and Objectives: This study aimed to examine how sexuality is addressed during rehabilitation following traumatic motor vehicle injuries and identify barriers to provision of this service.

Method: A qualitative needs analysis, with multi-methodology was used to examine the perspectives and experiences of clients and clinicians towards addressing sexuality following MVI’s. This involved: 1) semi-structured interviews of clinicians 2) completion of a questionnaire by eligible clients. Twenty-one clients and 10 clinicians participated.  Questionnaire data for clients was analysed using descriptive statistics (frequency, means and SD) to provide an outline of sociodemographic and injury related information. Interview data from clinicians was analysed thematically.

Results: The MVI’s impacted on sexuality for over half of clients. One third reported that sexuality was addressed as part of their rehabilitation. Core themes were derived following interviews of clinicians: (1) ‘whole person’ approach (2) timing, delivery and responsibility of discussions (3) culture and comfort and (4) future tools and skill sets.

Conclusions: Clinicians and clients agreed that sexuality was important but inadequately addressed during rehabilitation. Clinicians were lacking comfort, training and resources to address sexuality consistently with clients. Sexuality should be addressed at multiple stages of rehabilitation to grant service-users the option for these discussions to take place.


Caitlin has over 10 years experience working as an Occupational Therapist in both Australia and overseas. Caitlin has worked across acute, sub-acute, community and service planning roles. Her current role is as a Senior Service Planner at the Lifetime Support Authority in South Australia. Caitlin has a strong commitment to evidence-based practice and a particular interest in neurological rehabilitation. Caitlin completed a Master of Clinical Rehabilitation through Flinders University in 2018.

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