A recent study published in The Journal of Sex Research presents a new analysis of the SALUDIVERSEX programme, a comprehensive affective-sexual education initiative for adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). The research, conducted by María Dolores Gil-Llario and her team, aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of this programme in enhancing sexual knowledge and reducing the risk of sexual abuse among participants.
SALUDIVERSEX is an innovative approach to sexual education tailored specifically for adults with ID. It focuses on improving sexual health and quality of life through three key strategies: imparting basic sexual health information, developing sexual self-care skills, and fostering healthy attitudes towards sexuality.
The study employed a controlled trial design, involving 246 participants from occupational centres in eastern Spain. These individuals, all diagnosed with ID according to DSM-5 criteria, were divided into experimental and control groups. The experimental group received the SALUDIVERSEX programme, while the control group did not receive any specific intervention.
Post-intervention assessments showed remarkable improvements in the experimental group compared to the control group. Key findings include:
- There has been a significant increase in sexual knowledge, particularly regarding homosexuality, dating intimacy, sexual assertiveness, and sexual health.
- There has been a notable decrease in the risk of experiencing sexual abuse.
- There has been enhanced awareness and knowledge about privacy, social norms, and sexuality, as reported by professionals working with the participants.
The effectiveness of the SALUDIVERSEX programme was rigorously evaluated using multilevel statistical analyses, taking into account the baseline differences between the groups. The results demonstrated statistically significant differences in various domains of sexual knowledge and risk of experiencing sexual abuse, with large and significant effect sizes indicating the program’s substantial impact.
The success of SALUDIVERSEX highlights the necessity and effectiveness of specialised sexual education programmes for adults with ID. It addresses a crucial gap in this area, offering a replicable model for similar initiatives worldwide. This study not only contributes to the academic field but also has practical implications for improving the sexual health and safety of individuals with ID.