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Is Love Blind? Sexual Behavior and Psychological Adjustment of Adolescents with Blindness

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In the present study, we examined sexual knowledge, sexual behavior, and psychological adjustment of adolescents with blindness. The sample included 36 Dutch adolescents who are blind, 16 males and 20 females. Results of the interviews revealed no problems regarding sexual knowledge or psychological adjustment. Sexual behavior however, was more at risk. Adolescents with blindness had less sexual experiences and were older in having sexual experiences compared with youth without disabilities in the Netherlands. Subgroup analysis showed that boys with blindness scored higher on self-esteem if they had sexual intercourse. If boys perceived their family as overprotective they less often experienced sexual intercourse. Furthermore, if boys reported more family opposition, they more often had experienced sexual intercourse. These results were not found for girls in this sample. We would like to recommend to youth with visual impairments to be active in leisure activities, outside their homes, in the presence of peers.

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The authors would like to thank Anoushka Sloep and Sandra Reek (educationalists and alumni of the University of Amsterdam) for their contribution in the study on sexual behavior. Parts of this study were funded by the Dutch federation of parents of children with visual impairments (FOVIG) and by InZicht, a Dutch foundation for research concerning persons with visual impairment (grant number 943-01-001).

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Correspondence to Sabina Kef.

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Kef, S., Bos, H. Is Love Blind? Sexual Behavior and Psychological Adjustment of Adolescents with Blindness. Sex Disabil 24, 89–100 (2006).

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