“Best for everyone concerned” or “Only as a last resort”? Views of Australian doctors about sterilisation of men and women with intellectual disability

Gilmore, Linda & Malcolm, Laura (2014) “Best for everyone concerned” or “Only as a last resort”? Views of Australian doctors about sterilisation of men and women with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 39(2), pp. 177-187.

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Doctors have the potential to influence opportunities for normative life experiences in the area of sexuality for individuals with intellectual disability (ID).


In Study One, 106 doctors completed the Attitudes to Sexuality Questionnaire (Individuals with an Intellectual Disability). In Study Two, 97 doctors completed a modified form of the questionnaire that included additional questions designed to assess their views about sterilisation.


Attitudes were less positive about parenting than about other aspects of sexuality, and less sexual freedom was seen as desirable for adults with ID. A surprising number of doctors agreed that sterilisation was a desirable practice. Study Two provided data about the conditions under which sterilisation was endorsed. Most doctors reported they had not been approached to perform sterilisations. Only 12% believed medical practitioners receive sufficient training in the area of disability and sexuality.


The findings have implications for training and professional development for doctors.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 69591
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: attitudes, doctors, general practitioners, sexuality, intellectual disability, sterilisation, ASQ–ID
DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2013.877125
ISSN: 1366-8250
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability, Inc.
Copyright Statement: The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 30 January 2014, http://www.tandfonline.com/10.3109/13668250.2013.877125
Deposited On: 02 Apr 2014 03:18
Last Modified: 08 May 2015 08:44

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