Body and Sexual Esteem as Mediators of the Physical Disability–Interpersonal Competencies Relation


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Abstract

ObjectivesTo examine whether body and sexual esteem mediated the associations between sexual satisfaction, perceived disability severity, and social perceptions of the disability and interpersonal competencies.Research Method/DesignWeb-based survey with 326 adults with a range of physical disabilities.Main Outcome MeasuresPerceived interpersonal competence in initiating relationships and being assertive in negative situations.ResultsFor men, sexual satisfaction, social perceptions of the disability, and perceived severity of the disability significantly predicted competence with relationship initiation. Sexual satisfaction and social perceptions of the disability predicted competence with negative assertion. For women, social perceptions of the disability predicted both interpersonal competencies, and sexual satisfaction predicted competence with negative assertion. Aspects of body esteem mediated the relations between the predictor variables and the interpersonal competencies.ConclusionsFindings indicate the importance of perceived attractiveness to others in mediating the negative relations between impact of the disability and interpersonal competencies. Findings also suggest important gender differences in variables predictive of interpersonal competencies.

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