Psychological subtypes of erectile dysfunction: results of statistical analyses and clinical practice


In contrast to the impressive advances made in somatic research of erectile dysfunction (ED), psychogenic ED is mostly treated as a monolithic block or is merely defined by exclusion of organic factors. This paper proceeds from the assumption that a classification of psychological subtypes of ED is urgently needed and has to include a categorization of different pathogenetic mechanisms as well as a classification of interaction patterns with somatic risk factors. After a brief review of current approaches, psychological subtypes of ED are examined along two different lines of evidence. First, 236 consecutive patients from an ED outpatient unit were included in a cluster analysis to identify homogeneous subgroups of cases. Three clusters emerged, whose main characteristics as well as most important discriminating variables were further explored by various statistical procedures. Second, on the basis of clinical experience a four-level model of psychogenic ED is proposed that consists of dispositional, etiologic, pathogenetic, and maintaining factors. In addition, four different pathogenetic modes of psychogenic ED are differentiated, which have been labeledactual-neurotic, psychoneurotic, psychosomatic, andfunctional. Conclusions concentrate on these modes as well as on the empirical subtypes and their implications for clinical practice and future research. Our results indicate that we are just beginning to understand the complex pathogenetic interface between psychological factors and manifest ED.

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Hartmann, U. Psychological subtypes of erectile dysfunction: results of statistical analyses and clinical practice. World J Urol 15, 56–64 (1997).

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  • Public Health
  • Clinical Practice
  • Statistical Procedure
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Clinical Experience