Tackling the Taboo: The Perceptions and Attitudes of Undergraduate Students in Health-Related Fields on the Sexuality of Disabled People


Despite being a natural part of life and a human right, the sexuality and sexual expression of disabled people has historically been considered a taboo topic. Prior studies suggest that post-secondary students in health professions may lack knowledge and understanding about the intersection of disability and sexuality. This research project uses a critical disability studies lens to explore the attitudes of health professional students in Canada toward the sexuality of disabled people.

The objectives of this project are to examine:
1) what is being taught to students regarding the sexuality of disabled people in their curriculum;
2) sources of information that students access to learn about this topic;
3) current attitudes that students hold.

We will conduct online surveys to collect data. Participants will answer a variety of questions about their opinions of disability and sexuality. Participants will be given the option of providing personal stories to supplement responses. Results will be shared through a conference presentation and manuscript for publication to inform better practice among health professionals supporting disabled people and their sexual health.


Currently recruiting participants: Yes

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 18 to 65

Accepts healthy participants: Yes

Inclusion criteria:

We are seeking students who:
1) are currently enrolled in undergraduate part-time or full-time health-related studies (any year of study)
2) have recently graduated from an undergraduate health-related program (January 1, 2022 or later)
3) have completed their studies at a Canadian post-secondary institution

Eligible post-secondary areas of study include the following:
nursing (registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, certified nursing assistant);
undergraduate medicine;
paramedic (primary care paramedic, advanced care paramedic);
social work (diploma, bachelor);
therapy assistant (physiotherapy assistant, occupational therapy assistant, speech-language pathology assistant, recreation therapy assistant);
recreational therapist.

Exclusion criteria:

You are not eligible to participate if you are:
1) a health professional student studying above an undergraduate level (graduate or doctoral level of studies)
2) a student who graduated prior to January 1, 2022
3) a student who is completing their studies at an academic institution outside of Canada


Fill out the following form if you want to participate in this research

Method of contact

Additional information

Contact information

If you are interested in completing this study, please email kayley.schnare1@ucalgary.ca for further information.

Principal investigator:

Alan Martino

Clinical trial: