Broad Perspectives of the Experience of Romantic Relationships and Sexual Education in Neurodivergent Adolescents and Young Adults

Smusz, Magdalena, Allely, Clare S. and Bidgood, Amy (2024) Broad Perspectives of the Experience of Romantic Relationships and Sexual Education in Neurodivergent Adolescents and Young Adults. Sexuality and Disability, 42. pp. 459-499. ISSN 0146-1044

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Neurodivergent young people tend to struggle with building and maintaining their romantic relationships. Despite this, there appears to be a lack of appropriate sexuality education delivered to them. This review aims to present and discuss the most current literature (conducted between 2015 and current) on romantic relationships and sexuality education in young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and ASD co-occurring with ADHD. Six internet-based bibliographic databases were used for the present review that followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Thirty-one studies were identified in this review. Twenty-six studies investigated the topic in the autistic young population. Four studies explored qualitatively and 11 quantitatively young people’s perspectives of their romantic relationship experiences. One study investigated qualitatively and three quantitatively young people’s perspectives on sexuality education. One study explored qualitatively and five quantitatively young people’s romantic relationship experiences and two explored qualitatively and three quantitatively sexuality education from caregivers’ perspectives. Five studies (all quantitative, self-reports) investigated romantic relationship experiences in the young population with ADHD. The studies conducted on the topic from the educational professionals’ perspectives were absent in the literature. The literature was also non-existent on the topic in the population with ASD co-occurring with ADHD. To the researchers’ knowledge, this is the first review exploring romantic relationships and sexuality education in three groups of neurodivergent young people (with ASD, ADHD, and ASD co-occurring with ADHD).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The version of record of this article, first published in Sexuality and Disability, is available online at Publisher’s website:
Divisions: Faculty of of Arts, Society and Professional Studies > Department of Health and Behavioural Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Hazel Barham
Date Deposited: 28 May 2024 11:09
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2024 12:08

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