Sexual attractiveness/body image related sexual dysfunction in multiple sclerosis
Kolzet, Julie Anne
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This current study evaluated the contribution of both marital status and household income on sexual attractiveness/body image related sexual dysfunction (SD) in men and women with multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition, this study explored gender differences among both known and hypothesized predictors of sexual attractiveness/body image related SD. The sample from the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS registry) constituted 4,998 MS patients from the United States. Hierarchical multiple regression (HMR) analysis revealed that after adjusting for gender, age, education level, general mental health, and level of disability, household income accounts for less than 1% of the variance in sexual attractiveness/body image related SD. Nonetheless, a significant relationship was observed between household income and sexual attractiveness/body image related SD (beta= -.047, p <.005), suggesting that lower household income may be associated with more severe sexual attractiveness/body image related SD. All other predictor variables were significant at .05 level, together accounting for 22% of the variance in sexual attractiveness/body image related SD. The results showed that marital status did not emerge as a significant independent predictor of sexual attractiveness/body image related SD once the aforementioned predictor variables were held constant. Moreover, the results suggest that the effect of gender on sexual attractiveness/body image related SD may vary as a function of both marital status and education. Specifically, males who are married may exhibit sexual attractiveness/body image- related SD to a lesser extent than females who are married. Additionally, it appears that females with minimal education fare worse when it comes to sexual attractiveness/body image related SD than males with minimal education. The results of this study, along with those from an earlier study, Kolzet et al. (in preparation), provide novel insight into the tertiary sexual concerns of MS patients, sexual attractiveness/body image related sexual concerns in particular. Collectively, these findings may be relevant to the clinical evaluation of MS patients, and to the development and implementation of interventions for MS patients and their family members.