Predictors of sexual functioning and satisfaction 1 year following traumatic brain injury: a TBI model systems multicenter study

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2013 May-Jun;28(3):186-94. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e31828b4f91.


Objective: To investigate predictors of sexual functioning 1 year following traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Community.

Participants: A total of 255 persons with TBI (187 males; 68 females) who had been treated at 1 of 6 TBI Model Systems inpatient rehabilitation units and were living in the community.

Main measures: Derogatis Interview for Sexual Functioning-Self-Report (DISF-SR); Global Satisfaction With Sexual Functioning (Global Sexual Satisfaction Index); Participation Assessment With Recombined Tools-Objective; Patient Health Questionnaire-9.

Results: Older age, female gender, and more severe injury were associated with greater sexual dysfunction 1 year following injury. As age increased from 24 to 49 years, the odds of sexual impairment increased more than 3-fold (95% confidence interval: 1.82-5.88). Females had a 2.5 increase in odds of sexual impairment compared with males (95% confidence interval: 1.23-5.26). Greater social participation was predictive of better sexual functioning. Dissatisfaction with sexual functioning was predicted by older age and depression.

Conclusions and implications: Older persons and females appear to be at greater risk for sexual dysfunction after TBI and may benefit from specialized assessment and treatment services. Relationships were identified between social participation and sexual function and between depression and sexual satisfaction that may serve as clinical indicators for further assessment and intervention. Further research is needed to elucidate these relationships and identify effective clinical approaches.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult