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First-person narratives around sexuality in residential healthcare settings: a meta-ethnographic synthesis

Hooper, Anna; De Boos, Danielle; Nair, Roshan das; Moghaddam, Nima


Anna Hooper

Associate Professor, co-Director (Academic & Research), trent Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Professor of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology

Nima Moghaddam


The aim of this review is to identify, critically appraise, and synthesise the existing literature exploring adults’ narratives around sexuality within residential healthcare settings from a first-person perspective. A systematic literature review was undertaken. Six databases were searched. A meta-ethnographic approach was used to synthesise studies’ findings. Thirteen studies using qualitative methodology that met the inclusion criteria were identified. The synthesis revealed six key themes: how service users define sexuality, sexuality as something not to be discussed (“privates are private”), sexuality as a separate aspect of the self (“sectionality”), hopes and fears for the future, the impact of the environment (“physicality of being physical”), and adapted sexuality. The studies included were of varying quality. Sexuality remains an important aspect for many residents, yet is rarely noted or discussed with them by healthcare staff. The residential healthcare environment presents implicit and explicit barriers to sexuality expression, causing residents to adapt how they experience their sexuality. Findings from this review highlight the importance of considering service users’ perspectives, and the need for open communication between residents and practitioners to facilitate care provision that acknowledges the barriers of the environment on sexuality and considers the person beyond the presenting illness.


Hooper, A., De Boos, D., Nair, R. D., & Moghaddam, N. (2016). First-person narratives around sexuality in residential healthcare settings: a meta-ethnographic synthesis. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 31(2), 207-229.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 8, 2015
Online Publication Date Jan 7, 2016
Publication Date Jan 7, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 15, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 15, 2016
Journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy
Print ISSN 1468-1994
Electronic ISSN 1468-1749
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 2
Pages 207-229
Keywords Sexuality, Residential healthcare, Meta-synthesis, Meta-ethnography, Qualitative research
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Sexual and Relationship Therapy on 07/01/2016 available online at


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