J Sex Marital Ther. 2003 Jul-Aug;29(4):305-21
McCabe MP, McKern S, McDonald E, Vowels LM.
School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia.
Relationship and sexual satisfaction among people with multiple sclerosis (MS) has received little research attention.
This article reports on a longitudinal investigation of the impact of coping style and illness-related variables among people with MS and the general population on sexual and relationship functioning.
Both men (n = 120) and women (n= 201) with MS and men (n = 79) and women (n = 160) from the general population participated in the study at two points in time, 6 months apart.
People with MS experienced lower levels of sexual activity, sexual satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction and higher levels of sexual dysfunction.
Generally speaking, the time 1 levels of the health and coping variables explained little of the variance in the time 2 sexual and relationship variables.
However, sexual activity at time 1 contributed significant unique variance to relationship satisfaction at time 2 for MS men, and coping strategies at time I contributed to relationship satisfaction among general population women at time 2.
Furthermore, for those respondents who had been diagnosed with MS for less than 7 years, levels of sexual activity at time 2 were predicted by levels of sexual and relationship satisfaction, as well as levels of sexual activity at time 1.
These results suggest that strategies used to cope with illness may not play a major role in sexual and relationship satisfaction.
However, an examination of these strategies over a longer time frame is needed.