Background: Although attention to elderly care issues has grown with the rising elderly population, healthcare staff continue to harbor many erroneous perceptions of elderly sexuality. Nurses frequently come into contact with older people. However, little attention has been given to providing elderly sexuality-related education in the nursing curriculum or continuing education programs. There is also a palpable lack of relevant study on this issue in the literature. Purpose: This study examines senior nursing students' knowledge of and attitudes toward elderly sexuality and variables that significantly affect such knowledge and attitudes. Methods: A retrospective research design studied 225 senior nursing students enrolled in various academic curricula. We used the structured aging sexual knowledge and attitude scale to collect data. Results: Participants earned an average score below 60% on questions addressing knowledge of elderly sexuality. Participants' sexual attitudes toward older people was generally positive. Findings also showed that being female, holding traditional folk and or western religious beliefs, and having elderly parents at home correlated with higher knowledge of elderly sexuality. Participants with relatively low contact frequency with elderly patients and those enrolled in 4-year nursing programs demonstrated better attitudes toward elderly sexuality. Conclusions/Implications for practice: Results of this study offer nursing educators better insights into nursing students' knowledge and attitudes related to elderly sexuality. Such may serve as a reference for future nursing curriculum and education training program development in order to improve the quality of elderly care provided by nursing students and nurses.
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