Title page for ETD etd-04302002-112913

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Creech, Linda Sue
Author's Email Address lcreech@vt.edu, screech@lynchburg.net
URN etd-04302002-112913
Title Urinary Incontinence and Sexual Intimacy: Older Women's Perceptions
Degree PhD
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Allen, Katherine R. Committee Chair
Blieszner, Rosemary Committee Member
Roberto, Karen a. Committee Member
Schlenker, Eleanor D. Committee Member
Teaster, Pamela B. Committee Member
  • urinary incontinence
  • sexual intimacy
  • urinary incontinence and sexual intimacy
Date of Defense 2002-04-19
Availability unrestricted
Sue Creech's Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine factors that influence the experience of urinary incontinence (UI) as it relates to sexual intimacy for older women. Additionally, I wanted to identify perceived areas of intervention that might positively influence the experience of UI as it relates to sexual intimacy for participants. The sample consisted of 10 women who ranged in age from 65 to 81.

The theoretical framework guiding this study was a systemic perspective in which how participants make meaning is given prominence. Symbolic interactionism, social constructionism, and systems perspective are interwoven to provide the foundation for this study. Data were collected utilizing in-depth interviews. Self-portraits were introduced to enrich conversation during the second interview.

Three conclusions were drawn from this study. First, feelings of secrecy that permeated this project were manifested in the lack of willing participants as well as brevity of responses during interactions with participants. Second, participants indicated a tendency to minimize their incontinence and to manage their symptoms without formal medical intervention. Third, participants offered perceived potential interventions that might positively influence the experience of UI. These included the provision information related to UI in a way that does not require individuals to request the information, such as brochures at physicians' offices, post-surgical follow-up, and individuals from whom participants would be most comfortable receiving such information.

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