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

Summary

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 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Angst J, Clayton PJ (1986) Premorbid personality of depressive, bipolar and schizophrenic patients with special reference to suicidal issue. Compr Psychiatry 27:511–532Google Scholar
  2. Angst J, Merikangas K, Scheidegger P, Wicki (1990) Recurrent brief depression: a new subtype of affective disorder. J Affect Disord 19:87–98Google Scholar
  3. Angst J, Wicki W (1992) The Zurich Study. XIII. Recurrent brief anxiety. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 241:296–300Google Scholar
  4. Buddeberg C, Hess D, Merz J (1984) Sexuelle Probleme von Patienten in der Allgemeinpraxis. Schweiz Rundschau Med (PRAXIS) 73:1113–1118Google Scholar
  5. Buus Jensen AS, Ronne H, Sederberg-Olsen P (1980) Seksuel dysfunktion i en almen praksis. Ugeskr Laeger 142:401–404Google Scholar
  6. Derogatis LR (1977) Administration, scoring and procedures for the R (revised) version and other instruments of the psychopathology rating scale series. Johns Hopkins Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  7. Derogatis LR, Meyer JK, King KM (1981) Psychopathology in individuals with sexual dysfunction. Am J Psychiatry 138:757–763Google Scholar
  8. Ernst C, Angst J (1992) The Zurich Study. XII. Sex differences in depression. Evidence from longitudinal epidemiological data. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 241:222–230Google Scholar
  9. Ernst C, Angst J, Földényi M (1993) The Zurich Study. XVII. Sexual abuse in childhood. Frequency and relevance for adult morbidity. Data of a longitudinal epidemilogical study. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 242:293–300Google Scholar
  10. Fahrenberg J, Selg H, Hampel R (1973) Das Freiburger Persönlichkeitsinventar FPI, 2. Aufl., Hogrefe, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  11. Fagan PJ, Schmidt CW, Wise TN (1988) Sexual dysfunction and dual psychiatric diagnoses. Compr Psychiatry 29:278–284Google Scholar
  12. Garde K, Lunde I (1980) Social background and social status: influence on female sexual behaviour. A random sample of 40 year old Danish women. Maturitas 2:241–246Google Scholar
  13. Nathan SG (1986) The epidemiology of DSM-III psycho-sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther 12:267–281Google Scholar
  14. Nettelblad P, Uddeberg N (1979) Sexual dysfunction in 58 married Swedish men. J Psychosom Res 23:141–147Google Scholar
  15. Osborn M, Hawton K, Gath D (1988) Sexual dysfunction among middle aged women in the community. BMJ 296:959–962Google Scholar
  16. Pepe F, Panella M, Pepe G, D'Agosta S (1989) Frequency of sexual dysfunctions among Roman catholic women. Fam Pract 6:16–18Google Scholar
  17. Pfeiffer E, Verwoerdt A, Davis GC (1972) Sexual behavior in middle life. Am J Psychiatry 128:1262–1267Google Scholar
  18. Schein M, Zyzansky SJ, Levine G, Medalie JM, Dickman R (1988) The frequency of sexual problems among family practice patients. Fam Pract Res J 7:122–134Google Scholar
  19. Schreiner-Engel P, Schiavi RC (1986) Lifetime psychopathology in individuals with low sexual desire. J Nerv Ment Dis 174:451–464Google Scholar
  20. Shahar E, Lederer J, Herz MJ (1991) The use of a self report questionnaire to assess the frequency of sexual dysfunction in family practice clinics. Fam Pract 8:206–212Google Scholar
  21. Spector KR, Boyle M (1986) The prevalence and perceived aetiology of male sexual problems in a non-clinical sample. Br J Med Psychol 59:351–358Google Scholar
  22. Spector K, Boyle M (1987) Erectile problems in a non-clinical sample: remission rate and perceived factors in remission. Sex Marit Ther 2:65–71Google Scholar
  23. Tennant CH, Andrews G (1976) A scale to measure the stress of life events. Aus NZ J Psychiatry 10:27–32Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations