Sexual and relationship satisfaction among persons with young-onset Parkinson's disease

Catherine L Wielinski, Sandra C Varpness, Cordelia Erickson-Davis, Andreas J Paraschos, Sotirios A Parashos
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2010, 7 (4): 1438-44

INTRODUCTION: Parkinson's disease (PD) presents unique personal and social challenges, particularly for those with onset before the age of 50 years.

AIM: The aim of this article is to evaluate sexual and non-sexual aspects of relationship satisfaction among persons with young-onset PD and their partners.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measures were Index of Sexual Satisfaction (ISS) and Golombok-Rust Inventory of Marital State (GRIMS).

METHODS: Persons with PD (PWP) and partners who attended the 2005 National Parkinson Foundation Young Onset Network Conference were asked to complete a survey. Each survey included demographics, a clinical history questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), ISS, and GRIMS.

RESULTS: Sixty PWP (63% men, 85% in a relationship) responded to the survey. Median age was 50 years (range 29-62), with a median age at symptom onset of 43 years (range 17-55). ISS scores indicated clinically significant sexual dissatisfaction in 37%. Relationship dissatisfaction measured by the GRIMS was scored as "poor" or worse in 57%. Depressive symptomatology was severe in 19% and mild in 33%. Sexual dissatisfaction (ISS) correlated with relationship dissatisfaction (GRIMS) (correlation coefficient [CC] = 0.58, P < 0.001). Relationship dissatisfaction (GRIMS) correlated with depressive symptomatology (BDI) (CC = 0.38, P = 0.007). No correlations were found with any demographic or disease characteristics. Thirty-two couples (both the PWP and their partner) completed the surveys. Sexual and relationship dissatisfaction among PWP paralleled that of their partner (ISS: CC = 0.48, P = 0.005; GRIMS: CC = 0.61, P < 0.001). Depressive symptomatology of the PWP correlated with their partners' relationship dissatisfaction (CC = 0.46, P = 0.010).

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, sexual and relationship dissatisfaction were prevalent among young-onset PD patients. PD patients were similar to their partners in their level of sexual and relationship dissatisfaction. The degree of dissatisfaction did not correlate with demographics or self-reported disease characteristics. Self-reported depressive symptomatology among PD patients was adversely associated with both their and their partner's relationship satisfaction. Wiel

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