Sexuality and the Elderly: A Research Guide

By Bonnie L. Walker | Go to book overview

6
Caregiver Attitudes Toward Elderly Sexuality

One of the most widely studied topics is the attitude of caregivers toward elderly sexuality. Nursing students, medical students, and staff of long-term care facilities are among the groups studied. Influences of different cultures have also been investigated. The most common finding is that caregivers in general hold stereotypical attitudes toward the elderly, especially regarding their sexuality. These negative attitudes are only mildly changed as the result of improved knowledge. Experiences on the job also affect attitudes and these experiences can have negative as well as positive influence. Most writers see a need for a more realistic view of the elderly regarding sexuality by doctors, nurses, and long-term care staff.

Variables assessed in these articles include job, levels of nursing education (e.g., registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and others), sex of respondent, shift, salaries, level of education, and time spent caring for the elderly. Instruments frequently used to assess attitudes in these studies are White Aging Sexual Knowledge and Attitude Scale (1982), Palmore Facts on Aging Quiz (1977; 1988), Tuckman and Lorge Attitudes Toward Old People (1953), and Kogan Old People Scales (1961).

Also included in this chapter are articles and literature reviews related to the attitudes toward the elderly or toward elderly sexuality of medical professionals, primarily physicians, nurses, and staff of longterm care facilities. Research studies of the effect of training on caregiver attitudes are grouped together in Chapter 16.

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