Perceptions of Chronic Pain’s Interference with Sexual Functioning: The Role of Gender, Treatment Status, and Psychosocial Factors

Ruehlman, Linda; Karoly, Paul; Taylor, Aaron
September 2008
Sexuality & Disability;Sep2008, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p123
Academic Journal
The relation between self-reported pain and sexual functioning was investigated in a national sample of adults between the ages of 25–80. Although it is believed that pain generally has a deleterious effect on sexual functioning, relatively little data are available about the psychosocial correlates of the pain-sexuality link, the pain-sexuality relation among persons not in treatment for pain, or the role of gender as a potential moderator of the relation between psychosocial factors and pain-related interference. The present study involved the screening of chronic pain via the Profile of Chronic Pain: Screen (PCP: S) and the assessment of psychosocial correlates of pain’s interfering effects on sexual performance by means of responses on the Profile of Chronic Pain: Extended Assessment Battery (PCP: EA). Results revealed that, although pain did not interfere with sexual functioning in 37% of the respondents, several psychosocial variables from the PCP: EA were linked to pain’s interference with sexual activity controlling for the effects of pain severity. Pain-induced fear, impatience, and tangible support all yielded significant main effects. Moreover, the effects of five variables (ignoring, self-talk, task persistence, belief in a medical cure, and control) varied significantly by gender, and the effects of two PCP: EA dimensions (catastrophizing and belief in a medical cure) varied by treatment status. The assessment and treatment implications of the present findings were considered.


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