Purpose: To explore the life satisfaction of patients with erectile dysfunction (ED) and to examine the relation between severity of ED and life satisfaction.
Materials and methods: The study sample was recruited from patients who presented in an andrologic outpatient clinic complaining of ED. All patients underwent the basic clinical evaluation and were assessed by the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF) and the Life Satisfaction Inventory (LSI).
Results: The study included 69 patients with ED (age range 22-71 years, mean 49.5, SD 13.7). The LSI appeared to have satisfactory internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.82). Men with ED had significantly lower satisfaction with their sexual life (t = -13.756, d.f. = 68, P = 0.000), but also significantly lower total score of satisfaction with their life (t = -2.793, d.f. = 68, P = 0.007) compared with available normative data from healthy population. However, when compared with controls, men with ED showed significantly higher satisfaction scores on their financial status (t = 5.075, d.f. = 68, P = 0.000) and on their leisure time activities (t = 4.029, d.f. = 68, P = 0.000). Regarding ED severity, mild ED affects patients' satisfaction with sexual life less than do moderate and severe ED. Interestingly, no difference was identified between moderate and severe ED groups.
Conclusions: Men who seek help for ED have lower satisfaction with sexual life and lower satisfaction with their overall life compared with healthy people. Severity of ED seems to be an important factor, as men with moderate ED perceive the impact of ED on their life satisfaction equally with those with severe ED. ED patients gain more satisfaction from other domains of their life, provided they adopt coping behaviors that help compensate for their low overall life satisfaction. Furthermore, as ED patients do not differ from healthy people in their expressed subjective rating of quality of life (QoL), life satisfaction may be more sensitive than QoL assessment in the evaluation of the impact of ED on our patients' life.