Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2016 Sep 28:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]
Downing M(1), Ponsford J(1).
Whilst previous research has detailed the impact of TBI on an individual’s
sexuality, few studies have investigated couples’ sexuality where one partner has sustained a TBI.
The study assessed sexual function in individuals with TBI and their partners. Fifty five individuals who had sustained TBI and their partners completed the Derogatis Interview for Sexual Function-Self Report (DISF-SR). All participants scored below the 50th percentile in relation to norms. Whilst participants with TBI obtained lower T-scores than partners on all subscales (except for sexual behaviour/experiences where scores were equivalent), as well as the total score, none of these differences was significant. Item analysis indicated that female participants with TBI reported significantly lower scores than female partners on frequency of having normal lubrication. Normative comparisons revealed that approximately one-third of individuals with TBI and one-fifth of their partners scored below the second percentile.
Given the high frequency of sexual problems in individuals with TBI, which also impact their partners, addressing sexual problems should be a priority in rehabilitation and beyond.