Psychological determinants of erectile dysfunction: testing a cognitive-emotional model

Psychological determinants of erectile dysfunction: testing a cognitive-emotional model

2011-07-01 00:00:00

The aim of the present paper was to develop and test a cognitive-emotional model for male erectile dysfunction. Recent studies have shown the impact of sexual dysfunctional beliefs (Nobre & Pinto-Gouveia, 2006a), negative cognitive schemas (Nobre & Pinto-Gouveia, in press), negative automatic thoughts (Nobre & Pinto-Gouveia, 2003, 2007), and depressed affect (Nobre & Pinto-Gouveia, 2006b) on sexual functioning in men. Taking these findings into account, we developed a cognitive-emotional model for male erectile dysfunction using path analysis to test it.

A total of 352 men (303 participants from the general population and 49 participants with a DSM-IV diagnosis of sexual dysfunction) answered a set of questionnaires assessing cognitive and emotional variables: Questionnaire of Cognitive Schema Activation in Sexual Context (QCSASC; Nobre & Pinto-Gouveia, in press); Sexual Dysfunctional Beliefs Questionnaire (SDBQ; Nobre, Pinto-Gouveia, & Gomes; 2003), Sexual Modes Questionnaire (SMQ; Nobre & Pinto-Gouveia, 2003), and International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF;Rosen at al., 1997). Findings from the path analysis supported the relevance of the model and its adjustment to the observed data, indicating the main role performed by cognitive and emotional factors on the predisposition and maintenance of male erectile dysfunction.

These findings may have important implications for assessment and treatment of erectile dysfunction. The inclusion of measures of sexual beliefs, cognitive schemas, automatic thoughts and emotions, into assessment protocols of sexual dysfunction may help developing better clinical case conceptualizations and treatment plans. Findings also suggest the importance of including into treatment protocols, strategies oriented to work with the sexual beliefs and cognitive schemas presented by individuals with ED.

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