Content » Vol 49, Issue 4

Original report

Effectiveness of a structured sexual rehabilitation programme following stroke: A randomized controlled trial

Louisa Ng, Joshua Sansom, Nina Zhang, Bhasker Amatya, Fary Khan
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital 34-54 Poplar Road Parkville, Melbourne VIC 3052, Australia. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2219


Background: Sexual activity is an integral part of life; it is important to address sexual health after stroke, but this is often poorly done.
Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a structured sexual rehabilitation programme compared with written information alone regarding sexual and psychological functioning (anxiety, depression, stress), functional independence and quality of life in an Australian stroke cohort.
Methods: A total of 68 participants were randomized to a structured sexual rehabilitation programme (treatment group; n = 35) or to written information alone (control group; n = 33). Outcome measures included: Sexual Functioning Questionnaire Short Form; Depression, Anxiety Stress Scale; Functional Independence Measure, and Stroke and Aphasia Quality of Life Scale-39 Generic. Assessments were performed at baseline, 6 weeks and 6 months after the intervention. Participant’s preferences regarding how they would like to receive information, who from, and how frequently, were collected at baseline.
Results: There was no difference between groups for any outcome measures. Half of the participants (51%) wished to receive information and were divided equally into preferring written information vs face-to-face counselling, with the majority (54%) preferring information after discharge from an inpatient setting.
Conclusion: Provision of written information alone appears to be as effective as a 30-min individualized sexual rehabilitation programme in an inpatient setting. Further research is needed regarding longer term outcomes and outpatient settings.

Lay Abstract

Sexual activity is integral in life and addressing sexual health after stroke is important but often poorly done. In this study, we divided 68 people who were having rehabilitation in hospital after a stroke into two groups randomly. One group was provided with written information about sexuality after a stroke and the other group was provided with the same information and additionally a more structured face-to-face counselling and education program. We found that both groups showed the same improvement in sexual function at six weeks and six months after going home. We concluded that written information alone appears as effective as providing both written information and a more structured program in improving sexual function after a stroke.


Do you want to comment on this paper? The comments will show up here and if appropriate the comments will also separately be forwarded to the authors. You need to login/create an account to comment on articles. Click here to login/create an account.