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Intimacy, Sexuality, and Early-Stage Dementia: The Changing Marital Relationship


doi: 10.1097/ACQ.0b013e3181a40d80

When one's marital partner receives a diagnosis of dementia, it has major ramifications for a couple. Such a diagnosis affects every aspect of marital life, including the most intimate areas. This qualitative study (1) focuses on the perspectives of married couples, caregivers, and their spouses in the early-stage dementia as they discuss their intimate relationships, both positive and negative aspects, (2) identifies how they cope with these changes to their marital relationship, and (3) develops evidenced-based recommendations for other couples in the early stages of dementia and for their healthcare providers.

Phyllis Braudy Harris, PhD, LISW, ACSW, Professor and Chair, Sociology Department, and Director of the Aging Studies, John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio. She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the 2008 Gerontological Educator of the year for the state of Ohio, and is a founding coeditor of Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice.

Address correspondence to: Phyllis Braudy Harris, PhD, LISW, ACSW, Department of Sociology, John Carroll University, Cleveland, OH 44118 (

The author has no conflict of interest.

This study would not be possible without the support of the Alzheimer's Association, Cleveland Area Chapter. This research was funded in part by a John Carroll University Summer Research Fellowship.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.