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Sex after stroke: a content analysis of printable educational materials available online


  • Conflict of interest: All authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Correspondence: Natalie Hamam, Clinical and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Sydney, Cumberland Campus, Occupational Therapy J128, PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia.




Providing written educational materials to stroke survivors is a key recommendation in many international stroke guidelines. Yet, sexual concerns are generally overlooked in current stroke rehabilitation and the content of educational materials on sexual concerns has not been analyzed nor evaluated in published stroke research.


The aim of this study was to identify, describe, and analyze printable educational materials on sexual concerns that are available online and easily shared with stroke survivors.


Google search engine was used to locate printable educational materials from the Internet using a search term strategy of 35 phrases that were piloted for accuracy. The content of eligible materials was analyzed using NVivo software to produce both enumerative and thematic data.


Nine educational materials from reputable organizations were included with an average length of seven pages and 1445 words (total 61 pages, 13 000 words). The content of the materials was similar and covered three main content areas:

  • problems experienced after stroke: 30% coverage
  • suggested solutions: 32% coverage, and
  • reassurance: 9% coverage.

Content describing potential problems reflected published research, but solutions and reassurance were general, nonspecific, and often not supported by evidence.


Educational materials on sex after stroke may be helpful for health professionals, stroke survivors, and their partners, yet some messages appear to discourage recovery. Educators, health professionals, and organizations can use this analysis to evaluate their own educational resources and create resources that better address the sexual concerns of stroke survivors and their partners.