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Sexuality of young women surviving leukaemia
  1. L-R M Puukko,
  2. E Hirvonen,
  3. V Aalberg,
  4. L Hovi,
  5. J Rautonen,
  6. M A Siimes
  1. Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Dr L-R Puukko, Norros Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki, Stenbäckink 11, FIN-00290, Helsinki, Finland.


This study was designed to assess the sexuality of young women surviving acute leukaemia in childhood or early adolescence. Thirty of 31 survivors were compared with 50 healthy age matched controls. Three methods were used: a self report questionnaire, a face to face interview conducted by a psychiatrist, and a projective psychological test. The age at initiation of dating and sexual activity, the frequency of sexual intercourse, and opinions on sexual behaviour were similar in the two groups. With regard to inner sexuality, however, the survivors differed significantly from the healthy controls. Their images of sexuality were more restrictive, and their attitudes, especially those concerning sexual pleasure, were more negative than those of the controls. Sexual identity among the survivors was less often feminine and more often infantile as compared with the controls. The findings obtained with the three methods of assessment were concordant.

  • leukaemia
  • adolescent
  • sexuality.
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