Uncovering the sexual self in people with schizophrenia
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Sexuality is a vital component of the self. Yet, there is a dearth of research literature that explores the sexuality of people with schizophrenia. The purpose of this study was to understand how people with schizophrenia experience and perceive their sexuality. Using grounded theory methodology, the study recruited five men and five women with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders who lived independently in the community. These participants were interviewed regarding their subjective sense of their own sexuality. The findings suggested that people with schizophrenia integrate sexuality into their sense of self. Although the illness affected various aspects of their sexual lives, many participants were able to develop and maintain meaningful intimate relationships, as well as construct their own definitions and personal meanings of sexuality. Furthermore, participants described dealing with the impact of schizophrenia in the context of managing their illness. These findings have implications for clinical practice and recovery of people with schizophrenia.
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