Improving Sexual Health Communication Between Older Women and Their Providers: How the Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction Can Help

Talking about sexual health can be a challenge for some older women. This project was initiated to identify key factors that improve communication between aging women and their primary care providers. A sample of women (aged 60+) completed an online survey regarding their intent to communicate with a provider about sexual health. Using the integrative model of behavioral prediction as a guide, the survey instrument captured data on attitudes, perceived norms, self-efficacy, and intent to communicate with a provider about sexual health. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Self-efficacy and perceived norms were the most important factors predicting intent to communicate for this sample of women. Intent did not vary with race, but mean scores of the predictors of intent varied for African American and White women. Results can guide practice and intervention with ethnically diverse older women who may be struggling to communicate about their sexual health concerns.