As older adults age, they are presented with a perplexity of lifestyle adaptations. Primary care providers often view physiologic losses elders have as inevitable. Sexuality accounts for one example of these losses that elders feel are important, but have difficulty discussing with health care providers. Thus, the purpose of this descriptive/exploratory research study was to explore the nurse practitioner's assessment of sexuality among elders. The theoretical framework used in this study is Shippee-Rice’s Conceptual Model of Sexuality. The model focuses on four elements: the self, the components of sexuality, significant others, and environmental variables. The research questions were: 1) How frequent do nurse practitioners conduct sexual assessments on elders? 2) What reasons do nurse practitioners give for not conducting a sexual assessment on elders? 3) What information related to sexuality of elders do nurse practitioners obtain? The sample was chosen from a list of nurse practitioners practicing within the state of Mississippi. Of 250 questionnaires mailed, a sample of 132 nurse practitioners licensed in the state of Mississippi, completed the researcher-designed Gerontological Sexuality Assessment Tool. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and frequency distributions. The findings of this study revealed that nurse practitioners do assess sexuality among elders; however, the attainment of explicit sexual information is often neglected due to practitioner or client discomfort or the perception that such information is irrelevant in elders. Implications for nursing included increased education, development of sexual assessment instruments and use of the Shippee-Rice Model in practice. Recommendations for further research included conduction of additional research that examines the extent of nurse practitioners' assessment of sexuality in elders regarding masturbation activities and the effects of prescription medications on sexual dysfunction among elders. A recommendation for nursing practice was incorporation of sexuality issues into all routine history and physicals performed on elders.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Bonnie E. Lockard

Second Advisor

Dr. Lynn Chilton

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons