The Zurich Study: XXI. Sexual dysfunctions and disturbances in young adults

Data of a longitudinal epidemiological study
  • Cécile Ernst
  • Monika Földényi
  • Jules Angst
Original Articles


In a cohort of young Swiss adults, sexual disturbances and dysfunctions were assessed by interview four times between ages 20 and 30 years. Over 10 years almost every second female and every third male subject reported disturbances. In females at age 30 years, the prevalence of orgasmic difficulties and of dyspareunia corresponded to non-clinical samples of other studies. Also, in accordance with the literature, impaired interest was much more prevalent in females. In males and females, sexual disturbances were to some extent associated with anxiety and depression; in addition, in women, they were also associated with social phobia and eating disorders. With regard to neuroticism, negative affect and reports of an unsatisfactory childhood, subjects with temporary disturbances resembled more strongly those with chronic problems than controls. Compared with the controls, women's sexual disturbances were more chronic and more strongly associated with minor psychiatric symptoms and personality deviance; this finding was less pronounced in men.

Key words

Sexual dysfunction Longitudinal investigation Prevalence Chronicity Depressive and anxiety disorder Sex differences 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cécile Ernst
    • 1
  • Monika Földényi
    • 1
  • Jules Angst
    • 1
  1. 1.Research DepartmentPsychiatric University Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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