Dyspareunia in the Context of Psychopathology, Personality Traits, and Coping Resources: Results From a Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study From Age 30 to 50

Leeners, Brigitte ; Hengartner, Michael ; Ajdacic-Gross, Vladeta ; Rössler, Wulf ; Angst, Jules

In: Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2015, vol. 44, no. 6, p. 1551-1560

Add to personal list
    Although dyspareunia has a major impact on sexual and general wellbeing, there are few data on the longitudinal development of its prevalence in representative study groups. Therefore, it was the aim of the present study to fill this gap by evaluating the prevalence of dyspareunia in a representative sample at age 30, 35, 41, and 50. Additional aims were to determine the association between dyspareunia, psychopathological covariates, personality characteristics, and coping resources. Semi-structured interviews with single-item questions on sexual problems in general as well as dyspareunia were used to gain information on 1-year as well as long-time prevalence rates. Psychopathological covariates were explored with the SCL-90-R. The Freiburger Personality Inventory (Freiburger Persönlichkeits Inventar, FPI) assessed personality characteristics. Scales of sense of mastery and self-esteem were used to investigate coping resources. Twelve months prevalence of dyspareunia varied between 4.5 and 6.4% with a mean of 5.6% and a long-time risk of 19.3%. No relation between age and the prevalence rates was found. Dyspareunia was related to psychopathological covariates, especially depression. With respect to personality traits as measured with the FPI only nervousness showed a significant association with dyspareunia, whereas coping resources were unrelated. As dyspareunia is experienced by about 20% of all women, it represents a frequent sexual problem. Therefore, assessment of dyspareunia should be integrated into primary care of women at any age and diagnostic as well as therapeutic strategies should be based on physiological and psychological factors.