Understanding the Multidimensional Nature of Sexuality After Traumatic Brain Injury

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Objective: To investigate the association of sexuality with sociodemographic (age, sex, education), medical (injury severity, time since injury), physical (fatigue, pain, independence), neuropsychological (memory, attention, executive function), psychological (depression, anxiety, self-esteem), and social participation factors after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Design: Survey. Individuals with TBI completed measures at a mean average of 2.78 years post injury (range, 1-10.3y). Setting: All participants were community based at the time of data collection. Participants: Eighty-four individuals with TBI consecutively recruited after discharge from rehabilitation and 88 age-, sex-, and education-matched controls with TBI recruited from the general community. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure: Brain Injury Questionnaire of Sexuality. Results: Individuals with TBI performed significantly worse on sexuality, mood, and self-esteem measures than the control group without TBI, supporting previous findings. Research findings highlighted a range of significant correlations between sociodemographic, physical, neuropsychological, psychological, and social participation factors and sexuality outcomes after TBI. In the multiple regression model, older age, greater depression, and lower self-esteem were significant predictors of poorer sexuality post injury. Further analyses indicated that depression mediated the independent relationships between lower social participation and greater fatigue with a decline in sexuality after TBI. Conclusions: These findings support sexuality changes after TBI as a multidimensional construct, highlighting depression as a key mechanism through which other factors may affect sexual functioning. Further research is needed to target assessment and intervention services for sexuality problems after TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2080-2086
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Brain injuries
  • Depression
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sexuality

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