Purpose: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) has been shown to potentially affect psychological adjustment. However, most research has focused on females, and knowledge about psychological challenges in males remains sparse. The aim of this systematic review was therefore to assess these in males with CAH.
Methods: We systematically searched the OVID Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Web of Science databases, for articles published up to April 20, 2018, investigating psychological adjustment in males with CAH.
Results: Eleven studies were included in the review. Three main health domains were identified: psychological and psychiatric health, quality of life (QoL), and self-perceptions of reproductive health. Some studies covered more than one health domain. Seven studies explored psychological adjustment and/or the presence of psychiatric symptoms or disorders. Results indicated that males with CAH had more problems related to internalizing behaviors (negative behaviors directed toward the self) and more negative emotionality compared to reference groups. Six studies examined QoL, five of them reporting reduced QoL compared to reference groups. Three studies explored the impact of fertility and sexual health issues on psychological health with varying results from impaired to normal sexual well-being.
Conclusions: CAH seems to have an impact on males' psychological health. However, the number of identified studies was limited, included few participants, and revealed divergent findings, demonstrating the need for larger studies and highlighting a number of methodological challenges that should be addressed by future research.
Keywords: 11β-hydroxylase deficiency; 21-hydroxylase deficiency; Male; Psychological; Quality of life; Self-perception.