Talking About Sexuality in the Context of Rehabilitation Following Traumatic Brain Injury: An Integrative Review of Operational Aspects

  • Pascale Marier Deschênes
  • Marie-Eve LamontagneEmail author
  • Marie-Pierre Gagnon
  • Jhon Alexander Moreno


An integrative review of the literature reporting operational aspects (how, when, who, with what) of rehabilitation professionals’ discussion of sexuality with individuals with mild to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) was conducted. Searches were carried out in seven databases. Records published from 2000 to 2017 were screened and selected (n = 504). The methodological quality of empirical studies was evaluated using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Seventeen full-text articles, book chapters, books, and essays were included and analysed in this integrative review. Prerequisites for discussing sexuality were identified. The PLISSIT model’s usefulness in getting professionals to talk about sexuality was highlighted by nine sources (52.9%). An interdisciplinary team approach, with different aspects of sexuality covered by specific professions, was principally endorsed. Five sources (29.4%) reported that the best timing to initiate a discussion about sexuality would be during early rehabilitation. Nine sources (52.9%) supported the provision of written materials or other supporting resources, such as websites and videos. To integrate sexuality as a component of TBI rehabilitation, professionals need to be aware of their role, the information and education that should be provided, the appropriate timing, the tools that might be helpful, and the support from their organizations. There is a need for more intervention studies to assess the efficacy, alternating or combining different operational aspects identified in this review.


Traumatic brain injury Sexuality Rehabilitation Neurosexuality PLISSIT model Canada 



We would like to thank Lucas Craven (Western Colorado University) for reviewing the quality of the English language.


The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: PMD was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships. The larger study in which this review was performed is funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec—Santé (FRQS) (Grant Number: 32951).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RehabilitationUniversité LavalQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale (CIRRIS)QuébecCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of NursingUniversité LavalQuébecCanada
  4. 4.Centre de recherche du CHU de QuébecQuébecCanada
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  6. 6.Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-MontréalNotre-Dame Hospital, Deschamps PavilionMontrealCanada
  7. 7.Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR), Lindsay PavillonCIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-CSMTL)MontrealCanada

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