Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Ellen Long-Middletong

Second Advisor

Alan Rubin

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Background: Sexual orientation is comprised of distinct components, including sexual identity, sexual attraction and sexual behavior. Lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents are at an increased risk of experiencing poor health outcomes compared to non-sexual minority youth. Health care professional organizations recommend that health care providers discuss each component of sexual orientation at every adolescent health supervision visits in order to best assess the adolescent's health risks and needs for intervention and education.

Objective: This survey assessed the frequency with which nurse practitioners (NPs) in the state of Vermont discussed sexual identity, attraction and behavior with adolescents during annual health supervision visits.

Design: A cross sectional study that analyzed descriptive statistics of a small convenience sample of Vermont NPs.

Setting and Participants: Attendees of the Vermont Nurse Practitioner Association 2015 annual conference. Participants in the study were licensed, practicing NPs in the state of Vermont responsible for the health supervision of adolescents.

Results: Participants were overwhelmingly female (93%), with a median age between 40-49 years old, and a median length of years in practice of six to ten years. Sixty-two percent of respondents specialized in family practice. Respondents reported that they always asked adolescents about the sex of sexual partners at 49% of health supervision visits. Respondents always discussed sexual attraction and sexual identity at 31% and 24% of health supervision visits, respectively. Twenty percent of respondents reported rarely or never discussing sexual attraction, and 38% reported rarely or never discussing sexual identity.

Conclusions: The Vermont NPs who participated in this survey were demographically similar to national NP cohorts. Vermont NPs discussed the adolescent's sexual behavior at health supervision visits as frequently as health care providers nationally, and Vermont NPs discussed sexual attraction and sexual identity more frequently than providers nationally. However, Vermont NPs discussed sexual attraction and identity much less frequently than they discussed sexual behavior. Results of this survey illustrate that there is substantial room for improvement regarding the frequency with which Vermont NPs discuss the three components of sexual orientation with adolescents, particularly the components of sexual identity and attraction.

Language

en

Number of Pages

51 p.