Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, PhD. RN. Chairperson; Peter Gillette, MD. Committee Member; Robert Topp, PhD. RN. Committee Member


Priapism, Sickle Cell Disease, Adolescents, Southern California


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to describe the lived experience of priapism among male adolescents with sickle cell disease (SCD). A painful genetic disorder with no cure, SCD severely impacts the lives of patients, as well as their families and friends. Priapism is one of the complications of SCD and involves persistent and painful penile erections. The review of literature established a gap in researchers’ understanding of the lived experience of priapism among male adolescents with SCD. This study aimed to bridge that gap.

Using a convenience sampling method, 7 adolescent males between the ages of 16 and 19 with a history of SCD and the complication of priapism were selected for the study. A phenomenological approach guided this study. Qualitative data was drawn from semistructured face-to-face interviews using an interview protocol with 22 open-ended questions. Data were analyzed by transcribing audio tapes and coding information from transcripts into themes, patterns, and categories. Themes were identified that reflected the central, recurrent ideas that emerged from the participant responses.

The results of this research study demonstrate the significance of various themes associated with living with SCD and the complication of priapism for male adolescents, including: (a) Concerns with sexual performance, stigma, and associated psychological effects; (b) Quality of life and support systems; (c) Experiences with medical care; and (d) Knowledge of the condition and advice for others. The findings of this study confirm some previous literature while lending further insights that help expand researchers’ knowledge regarding the lived experiences of male adolescents with SCD and the complication of priapism.

Based on these findings, the implications for practice and opportunities for future research are broad and varied. It is imperative to develop awareness trainings or educational programs to better inform medical practitioners and SCD patients about the complication of priapism. Further research is needed to gain a better understanding of the prevalence of priapism in the SCD male adolescent population. Future studies should analyze whether this complication is hereditary, lifestyle-related, or can affect anyone.

Keywords: priapism, male adolescent, sickle cell disease

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons