206349 Older Women's Sexual Health and the Effect of Relationship and Partner Characteristics

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:30 PM

Claire Dye, MSPH , School of Public Health Department of Community Health Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Dawn M. Upchurch, PhD , School of Public Health Department of Community Health Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
The probability of having recently participated in sexual activity declines with age and older women complain of sexual problems at rates that exceed those of older men. Despite this, health practitioners who work with older women know little about the factors that impact these women's sexual health. One important predictor of women's sexual activity is partner statusówomen not in a romantic relationship are less likely to be sexually active. Among sexually active women, happiness with one's relationship may strongly impact both frequency of sexual activity and physical and emotional satisfaction. Finally, partner characteristics such as health status and age may strongly affect the sexual activities that are possible and impact women's perception of the sexual relationship. This study aims to explore the impact of relationship and partner characteristics on older women's sexual health using data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), a nationally representative survey of 3,005 community-dwelling adults aged 57 to 85. Sexual health is measured by recent sexual activity, frequency, and satisfaction of sexual activity. Partner characteristics include happiness with the relationship and partner's age, overall physical and emotional health status, and experience of sexual complaints. Separate regression models will be used to explore the association of each sexual health outcome with the relationship and partner characteristics. Stratified models by age group will also be analyzed to test whether the effect of these variables changes as women age. Preliminary analysis suggests that partner characteristics are strongly associated with women's sexual health.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize that sexual health is an important component of the lives of older women. 2. Identify important relationship and partner characteristics that are correlated with sexual health among older women. 3. Examine if the relevant relationship and partner indicators of sexual health vary with age among older women.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently working on my dissertation proposal and midlife and older women's sexual health is the topic. In addition, I have been co-author on one paper that is in submission that looks at midlife women's health with regards to menopause symptoms and am continuing to work with my advisor on this topic. Finally, I have the needed statistical and topical knowledge to complete the work for this paper.
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.