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Problems in sexual functioning among male OEF/OIF veterans seeking treatment for posttraumatic stress.

Badour CL, Gros DF, Szafranski DD, Acierno R. Problems in sexual functioning among male OEF/OIF veterans seeking treatment for posttraumatic stress. Comprehensive psychiatry. 2015 Apr 1; 58:74-81.

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OBJECTIVE: Few studies have examined sexual dysfunction among Operations Enduring/Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The present study investigated predictors of erectile dysfunction [ED] and self-reported sexual problems among 150 male combat veterans seeking outpatient treatment for PTSD within the Veterans Affairs healthcare system. METHOD: Participants completed clinical interviews and several questionnaires including measures of sexual arousal and sexual desire. A medical records review was also conducted to document evidence of an ED diagnosis or associated medication use. RESULTS: An ED diagnosis was present for 12% of the sample, and 10% were taking associated medications. Sexual arousal problems were reported by sixty-two percent of partnered veterans. Sexual desire problems were endorsed by 63% of the total sample, and by 72% of partnered veterans. Age was the only significant predictor of ED diagnosis or medication use. Age, race, PTSD diagnosis (versus subclinical symptoms), depression, and social support predicted self-reported sexual arousal problems; while race, combat exposure, social support, and avoidance/numbing symptoms of PTSD predicted self-reported sexual desire problems. CONCLUSIONS: Sexual problems are common among male OEF/OIF combat veterans seeking treatment for PTSD. Moreover, avoidance/numbing symptoms robustly predicted sexual desire problems. These findings highlight the importance of expanding assessment of sexual dysfunction and support the need for additional research in this area.

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