Risk and Protective Factors of Healthy Sexuality in Aging

Conference: The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology (AGen2022)
Title: Risk and Protective Factors of Healthy Sexuality in Aging
Stream: Aging and Gerontology
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Tamar Gitlitz, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Liat Ayalon, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Belle Gavriel-Fried, Tel-Aviv University, Israel


Objectives: Examine the relationships between physical health and personal resilience, and healthy sexuality in older adults, and the mediating role of ageism in the relationship. Healthy sexuality, encompassing sexual partnership satisfaction, execution of sexual behaviors, successful sexual fuctioning, few negative changes, and few sexual health concerns (Lindau et al., 2003; Lee et al., 2015), is an important part of life in old age. Deteriorating physical health and low personal resilience may be related with higher internalized ageism, which may then be related with lower sexual health. Method: 500 Israeli older Jewish adults participated, half men, aged 60 to 88 years, mostly married and secular. Instruments: Number of diseases (SHARE, Börsch-Supan, 2020), Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC10, Campbell-Sills & Stein, 2007), Self‐perceptions of Aging (Gum & Ayalon, 2018), The Sexual Relationships and Activities questionnaire (SRA-Q, Lee at al., 2015). Data analysis: Multiple linear and logistic regressions, path analysis for the mediating role of internalized ageism. Results: Males were more sexually active than females, and reported better functioning. They reported more sexual health concerns than females. Females reported more negative changes in sexual behavior in the past year. Higher resilience was positively related with aspects of sexual health. Suffering from more diseases and higher internalized ageism were negatively related with aspects of sexual health. Internalized ageism mediated the relationship between resilience and number of diseases, and sexual health. Conclusions: The biopsychosocial model of healthy sexuality was supported. Sexual health in old age may be promoted by fostering resilience and reducing internalized ageism.

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