Cross-sectional survey of sexual dysfunction and quality of life among older people in Indonesia

Ailiana Santosa, Ann Ohman, Ulf Högberg, Hans Stenlund, Mohammad Hakimi, Nawi Ng
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2011, 8 (6): 1594-602

INTRODUCTION: The burden of sexual dysfunction among older people in many low- and middle-income countries is not well known. Understanding sexual dysfunction among older people and its impact on quality of life is essential in the design of appropriate health promotion programs.

AIMS: To assess levels of sexual function and their association with quality of life while controlling for different sociodemographic determinants and chronic diseases among men and women over 50 years of age in rural Indonesia.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Purworejo District, Central Java, Indonesia in 2007. The study involved 14,958 men and women over 50 years old. The association between sexual dysfunction and quality of life after controlling for potential confounders (e.g., sociodemographic determinants and self-reported chronic diseases) was analyzed by multivariable logistic regression.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-reported quality of life.

RESULTS: Older men more commonly reported sexual activity, and sexual problems were more common among older women. The majority of older men and women reported their quality of life as good. Lack of sexual activity, dissatisfaction in sexual life, and presence of sexual problems were associated with poor self-reported quality of life in older men after adjustment for age, marital status, education, and history of chronic diseases. A presence of sexual problems was the only factor associated with poor self-reported quality of life in women. Being in a marital relationship might buffer the effect of sexual problems on quality of life in men and women.

CONCLUSION: Sexual dysfunction is associated with poor quality of life among older people in a rural Javanese setting. Therefore, promotion of sexual health should be an integral part of physical and mental health campaigns in older populations.

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