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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Issues in fertility control for mentally retarded female adolescents: I. Sexual activity, sexual abuse, and contraception.

Little information is available about sexual activity, sexual assault, and contraceptive use among mentally retarded adolescents. The experience in these areas among 87 mentally retarded females is reviewed. (A companion paper focuses on these patients' parental attitudes toward sterilization.) All subjects attended a multiservice adolescent clinic with a large developmentally disabled patient group. Charts were reviewed and 69 parents were interviewed. The patients had an age range from 11 to 23 years (mean 16.7). Forty-one subjects were mildly retarded (IQ 55 to 69), 23 were moderately retarded (IQ 41 to 54), and 23 were severely retarded (IQ less than 41). Half of the mildly retarded had had sexual intercourse, a proportion comparable to the general adolescent population. Thirty-two percent of the moderately retarded and nine percent of the severely retarded adolescents had had intercourse. One third of the mildly retarded and one fourth of the moderately retarded adolescents had been victims of rape or incest. Continued sexual activity correlated with sexual abuse, but the majority of victims had no prior or subsequent evidence of intercourse. Forty-two subjects (48%) had used contraception at some time; intrauterine devices and injectable medroxyprogesterone acetate were preferred to oral contraceptives. Six of the 14 patients (43%) who continued sexual activity became pregnant, suggesting that currently available contraception is not providing sufficient protection.[1]


  1. Issues in fertility control for mentally retarded female adolescents: I. Sexual activity, sexual abuse, and contraception. Chamberlain, A., Rauh, J., Passer, A., McGrath, M., Burket, R. Pediatrics (1984) [Pubmed]
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