Differences in Psychological Inflexibility Among Men With Erectile Dysfunction Younger and Older Than 40 Years: Web-Based Cross-Sectional Study.

Psychological inflexibility is a core concept of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which is a comprehensive, transdiagnostic interpretation of mental health symptoms. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition that affects male sexual performance, involving the inability to achieve and maintain a penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual activity. Psychosocial factors primarily influence ED in men younger than 40 years, whereas biological factors are more likely to be the underlying cause in older men.

This web-based cross-sectional study examined differences in depression, anxiety, and psychological inflexibility among men with ED younger and older than 40 years in a Japanese population.

We used a web-based survey to gather data from various community samples. ED was assessed by the International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5) questionnaire, while depression, anxiety, and psychological inflexibility were evaluated by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II (AAQ-II), Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire (CFQ), and Valuing Questionnaire-Obstacle Subscale (VQ-OB) questionnaires. The chi-square test estimated the scores of PHQ-9 and GAD-7 among men with ED, comparing those younger than 40 years and those older than 40 years. Additionally, a two-way ANOVA was conducted with ED severity and age group as independent variables, assessing psychological inflexibility.

Valid responses from 643 individuals (mean age 36.19, SD 7.54 years) were obtained. Of these, 422 were younger than 40 years (mean age 31.76, SD 5.00 years), and 221 were older than 40 years (mean age 44.67, SD 2.88 years). There was a statistical difference in the prevalence of depression as judged by PHQ≥10 between men with ED younger and older than 40 years (P<.001). On the other hand, there was no difference in the prevalence of anxiety as judged by GAD≥10 (P=.12). The two-way ANOVA revealed that the interactions for CFQ (P=.04) and VQ-OB (P=.01) were significant. The simple main effect was that men with ED younger than 40 years had significantly higher CFQ (P=.01; d=0.62) and VQ-OB (P<.001; d=0.87) scores compared to those older than 40 years in moderate ED and severe ED. Additionally, it was found that men younger than 40 years with moderate to severe ED had significantly higher CFQ (P=.01; d=0.42) and VQ-OB (P=.02; d=0.38) scores compared to men younger than 40 years without ED. On the other hand, no interaction was found for AAQ-II (P=.16) scores.

To the best of our knowledge, this web-based cross-sectional study is the first to examine the relationship between psychological inflexibility and ED. We conclude that men with moderate and severe ED younger than 40 years have higher psychological inflexibility and might be eligible for ACT.

JMIR formative research. 2024 Jan 03*** epublish ***

Junichi Saito, Hiroaki Kumano, Mohammad Ghazizadeh, Chigusa Shimokawa, Hideki Tanemura

Comprehensive Research Organization, Waseda University, Saitama, Japan., Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Saitama, Japan., Logos Science Corp, Tokyo, Japan.