Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Health Science

First Advisor

Ann Wilson

Second Advisor

Musheera Anis-Abdellatif

Third Advisor

Jamie Turgeon-Drake


Women, Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities, Disability, Sexuality, Sexual Health, Medical Education

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences


Women with intellectual disabilities (WID) experience a number of systemic barriers to healthcare related to their sexuality and sexual expression. Additionally, they are vulnerable to sexual abuse which could lead to conditions that would adversely affect their health and wellbeing. There is a need for healthcare professionals to be able to provide comprehensive sexual healthcare to WID, and this service is currently lacking. To begin to address this gap in available care, content on the sexuality of WID in courses taken by undergraduate future healthcare providers (FHP) needs to be developed. To provide the foundation of such a curriculum, this study assessed the attitudes towards the sexuality of WID of 47 undergraduate FHP using the Attitudes to Sexuality Questionnaire (Individuals with an Intellectual Disability), which includes 32 items having a 6-point Likert scale. With an overall mean score of 5.07, students showed overall agreement with statements affirming the rights and sexuality of WID. This finding suggests their likely acceptance of a curriculum that would include these topics. To build on these attitudes, educational recommendations are made to provide students with opportunities for: 1) clinical observations of healthcare professionals with expertise in caring for WID and 2) direct conversations with and exposure to WID in the classroom setting.

KEYWORDS: Intellectual disability, Women, Sexuality, Healthcare



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