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J Gend Stud. 2013 Oct 1;22(4):409-422.

Sexual activity and body image: examining gender variability and the influence of psychological distress in cancer patients.

Author information

1
The Ohio State University, Comprehensive Cancer Center 1590 N. High Street, Suite 525, Columbus, OH 43201.
2
University of South Florida, School of Aging Studies 13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MHC 1300, Tampa, FL 33612.
3
University of South Florida, College of Nursing 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC Box 22, Tampa, FL 33612.

Abstract

Psychosocial factors impacting on the overall quality of life for cancer patients may differ between men and women. This study examined the influence that psychological distress, clinical, and social variables have on sexual activity and body image in adult oncology patients. Symptom data was collected from the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS). Analysis indicated women and patients with reported functional limitations were more likely to be less satisfied with how they looked. The final model showed that younger adults, Caucasians, those who were married and patients with some functional limitations were more likely to have problems with sexual interest/activity. Gender was not a significant predictor of having problems with sexual interest/activity. These results can be used by clinicians to identify patients who may be at an increased risk for negative body image and problems in sexual functioning. Further research regarding gender differences in cancer-related psychological symptoms is needed to assist healthcare professionals in providing comprehensive care while alleviating unresolved and interrelated health and psychosocial symptoms.

KEYWORDS:

body image; cancer; gender; psychological distress; sexual activity; symptoms

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