• adult nursing;
  • cultural issues;
  • dialysis;
  • holistic care;
  • patient perspectives;
  • qualitative approaches



To explore the influence of the haemodialysis regimen on African Americans' perceptions of sexuality.


Sexuality is defined as the quality of humans as males or females. Sexuality concerns are commonly reported for individuals receiving haemodialysis; yet, sexuality-related research for this population has been limited to a focus on altered physical sexuality characteristics.


Qualitative descriptive study.


This qualitative descriptive study used a middle-range model derived from Roy's adaptation model to explore a holistic viewpoint of African Americans' perceptions of physical sexuality, personal sexuality identity, family/social roles, and intimate/personal relationships since being on dialysis. Data were collected over a 9-month period in 2008–2009.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 African American men (N = 12) and women (N = 7) who were receiving haemodialysis treatment (mean age = 49·95 years). Perceptions of diminished sexuality were most associated with altered relationships, family and social roles for most participants, and were suggested to negatively influence adaptive processes. Perceptions of personal sexuality identity in male participants were found to be greatly influenced by endorsement of traditional masculinity ideology. In contrast, female participants' perceptions of sexuality were found to be influenced by multiple meanings of their identity as Black women.


These findings suggest that diminished perceptions of sexuality may negatively influence adaptive processes for patients receiving chronic treatment such as dialysis. In addition, findings support further research and the development of instruments to assess sexuality from a more holistic viewpoint.