Psychological impact and sexual dysfunction in men with and without spinal cord injury

J Sex Med. 2015 Feb;12(2):436-44. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12741. Epub 2014 Nov 12.


Introduction: The World Health Organization recognizes sexual health as a fundamental right that should be guaranteed to all individuals. Sexual dysfunction affects various aspects in the lives (physical, psychic, and social) of affected persons.

Aims: To assess the different types of sexual dysfunction, the quality of life (QOL), depression, anxiety, and levels of self-esteem observed in 165 men with sexual dysfunction, both with and without spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods: Case control study of 85 men with SCI and sexual dysfunction, and 80 men without SCI that have sexual dysfunction.

Main outcomes measures: The Sexual Health Evaluation Scale, the Fugl-Meyer Life Satisfaction Questionnaire scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Evaluation of the Sexual Health Scale, and Rosenberg's Self-esteem Scale were all used for data collection.

Results: Of the members in group A (with SCI), 89.4% (76) showed erectile dysfunction, and 75.2% (64) reported anejaculation. In group B (without SCI), 75 (96.8%) showed erectile dysfunction, and 58.7% (47) had disorders of sexual desire. In group A, 16.47 % (14) showed signs of depression, and 35.3% (30) had signs of anxiety. In group B, 30% (24) had elevated scores regarding depression, and 48.75% (39) had high scores for anxiety. All of the participants reported a high general QOL and a high satisfaction with their QOL but reported that their satisfaction with their sexual lives was only at the acceptable level. Social QOL is significantly higher in the SCI group (t Student P=0.031). The QOL, self-esteem, and anxiety and depression levels are significantly correlated.

Conclusions: Men with sexual dysfunction strive to adapt to their situations, with the relationship between the type of sexual dysfunction and the QOL, mood (depression), and self-esteem all being important considerations. Sexuality and employment status are the areas where men with spinal cord injuries report less satisfaction.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Erectile Dysfunction; Quality of Life; Self-Esteem; Sexual Dysfunction; Spinal Cord Injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Libido
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology*
  • Sexuality
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult