New Measures to Assess Attitudes and Intended Behaviors of Paid Caregivers toward Sexuality of Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Shari L. Jorissen, Gary J. Burkholder


Keywords: attitudes, staff, sexuality, sexual behavior, relationships, developmental disabilities


Background: Attitudes that paid residential caregivers have about the sexuality of clients with developmental disabilities may impact adequate and appropriate care as well as the rights of clients in residential settings. The purpose of the study was to develop two surveys to assess attitudes and intended behaviors of staff who work with individuals with developmental disabilities.

Materials & Methods: A survey to measure attitudes and one to measure behavior were developed, piloted, and validated through a test-retest process and use of a previously developed survey that contained language that was dated and inconsistent.

Results: Both surveys were found to be reliable and valid, and attitudes and intended behaviors were found to be significantly correlated.

Conclusions: The development of reliable and valid tools to assess attitudes and intended behaviors of caregivers is important for establishing appropriate training, policy, and procedures for handling sexuality-related issues with clients with developmental disabilities.


attitudes; staff; sexuality; sexual behavior; relationships; developmental disabilities

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Copyright (c) 2013 Shari L. Jorissen, Gary J. Burkholder

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