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Young Women's Urinary Incontinence Perceived Educational Needs

Tremback-Ball, Amy PhD, PT1; Levine, Alan M. PhD2; Perlis, Susan M. EdD3; Dawson, Geraldine MD4

Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: January/April 2013 - Volume 37 - Issue 1 - p 29–34
doi: 10.1097/JWH.0b013e31828c1a94
Research Reports

Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore young women's perceived educational needs regarding urinary incontinence and propose ideas for an educational program for young women to enhance knowledge about the disorder and encourage preventive health behaviors based on the Health Belief Model.

Study Design: Descriptive.

Background: Urinary incontinence is often regarded a subject of an unmentionable nature. Urinary incontinence that is related to pregnancy and childbirth may be prevented. It is important that we understand women's perceived educational needs in terms of urinary incontinence to potentially decrease the incidence of the disorder.

Methods and Measures: A convenience sample of 327 female subjects aged 18 to 30 years was recruited. A survey was administered to elicit subjects' urinary incontinence perceived educational needs. Demographic information was also collected.

Results: Almost 15% of the women surveyed indicated that they experience urinary incontinence. Of the 15%, only 31.9% said that they would consider seeking professional help for incontinence. Approximately 71% of all surveyed felt that women were not able to talk about urinary incontinence freely although most (51.1%) were aware that there are professionals to help with urinary incontinence. Subjects with incontinence were less aware of the availability of professional help for incontinence. Most women with incontinence indicated that they would not seek professional help for the condition.

Conclusion: These findings support the notion that incontinence is a socially unacceptable topic of discussion. The constructs of the Health Belief Model and the results of this study may assist in developing educational programs on urinary incontinence.

1Department of Physical Therapy, Misericordia University, Dallas, Pennsylvania.

2Academic Affairs, Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

3Office of Curriculum Development and Assessment, Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

4Salazar Associates, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 by the Section on Women's Health, American Physical Therapy Association.