Culture and Disability in Sexuality Studies: A Methodological and Content Review of Literature

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Disabilities impact individuals across all demographic groups, resulting in multiculturalism within the culture of disability. Several years ago researchers within the area of disabilities studies noted a tendency to overlook the cultural heterogeneity within their samples of individuals with disabilities and called for greater awareness. It is unclear to what degree research psychologists as well as other disciplines have heeded the call to adopt a cultural lens when studying populations with disabilities. A methodological and content review of sexuality and disability studies was conducted to evaluate how researchers are conceptualizing and presenting cultural data. Recent articles in four leading disability journals from 2002 to 2006 were reviewed, yielding 54 studies and over 11,000 participants. The content analysis found tremendous inconsistency in the collection style and reporting of cultural information (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation). Results indicate ethnic minorities may continue to be under-recruited and understudied in the disability and sexuality literature.

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