176776 Sexual health of physically disabled young adults in the US

Monday, October 27, 2008

Annie-Laurie McRee, MPH , Department of Maternal and Child Health, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Carolyn T. Halpern, PhD , Department of Maternal and Child Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
BACKGROUND: Adolescents with physical disabilities have greater odds of sexual risk taking and are more vulnerable to sexual abuse, making them a population of special concern. However, we know little about disabled adolescents as they transition to adulthood. The purpose of this study is to compare the sexual health of physically disabled and non-disabled young adults in a nationally representative sample.

METHODS: Data are from 18-26 year olds who participated in Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N=15,197). Univariate and bivariate statistics are used to describe the sexual behaviors and experiences (e.g., number of sexual partners, contraceptive use, experience of forced sex), and reproductive health status (e.g., experience of STIs) of individuals previously identified as mildly (N=534), moderately (N=177), or more severely physically disabled (N=156), and compare them to non-disabled respondents. Logistic regression controlling for relevant socio-demographic factors is used to compare groups in adjusted models.

RESULTS: Preliminary bivariate analyses show that, overall, physically disabled young adults have the same odds of having had sex as their non-disabled peers; however, odds vary across disability category (mild: OR=1.49, p<.05; moderate: OR=0.49, p<.01; severe: not statistically significant). The mildly disabled are less likely to use condoms (OR=0.65; p<.05) and more likely to have had sex with someone for pay (OR=2.9, p<.05) than the non-disabled.

CONCLUSIONS: Sexual patterns of disabled young adults vary by behavior and disability severity. These differences have implications for the delivery of sex education and reproductive health programs and services for the physically disabled.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the sexual behaviors, experiences, and reproductive health outcomes of physically disabled young adults in the US; 2. Identify differences (if any) in the sexual experiences and reproductive health outcomes between physically disabled and non-disabled young adults; 3. Discuss implications of these differences with regard to reproductive health programs and services.

Keywords: Sexual Behavior, Special Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I performed all analyses and, along with the co-author, I am responsible for the study design and interpretation of results. I am also responsible for the creation of the presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.