Sexual Identity, Body Image and Life Satisfaction Among Women With and Without Physical Disability

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Abstract

The current study examined the association between sexual identity, body image and life satisfaction among women with and without physical disability. Seventy women with physical disability (spinal cord injuries and injuries resulting from polio) and 64 women without disability completed the following questionnaires: Sexuality Scale, Body Image Scale and Quality of Life Questionnaire. The results demonstrated that women with physical disability had the same sexual needs and desires as women without disability, but their body image, sexual self-esteem, sexual satisfaction and life satisfaction were significantly lower. These differences were stronger among young adult women than among more mature women. It was also found that sexual satisfaction was a major factor in explaining the variance in life satisfaction in both groups, and the relationships between sexual satisfaction and life satisfaction were bidirectional. At the same time, different patterns of congruency and inconsistency between sexual satisfaction and life satisfaction were exposed in both groups. In addition, the research demonstrated a moderating effect of family status on links between sexual and life satisfaction.

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