Despite being a common issue in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS), sexual dysfunction is still underinvestigated. This work aims to assess the potential determinants of sexual dysfunction in pwMS by considering its relationship with disease severity (in terms of global disability), illness perception, and depressive symptoms. In this multicenter study, 1010 pwMS responded to an online survey. A serial mediation model considering negative illness perception and depressive symptoms as mediators of the relationship between disease severity and sexual dysfunction was conducted using the SPSS PROCESS Macro with bias-corrected bootstrapping (5000 samples). Disease severity exerts an indirect effect on sexual dysfunction via illness perception, both independently and through depressive symptoms. However, the results indicated that illness perception plays a more crucial role in sexual dysfunction in pwMS with mild disability than in pwMS with moderate-severe disability. This study suggests that higher disability increases its magnitude by enhancing negative illness perception, that, in turn, affects sexual dysfunction both directly and through depressive symptoms, especially in pwMS with mild disability. Modulating the effect of illness perception by favoring adaptive coping strategies might represent a valid approach to mitigate sexual dysfunction symptoms in MS.
Sexual Dysfunction in People with Multiple Sclerosis: The Role of Disease Severity, Illness Perception, and Depression / Scandurra, C.; Rosa, L.; Carotenuto, A.; Moccia, M.; Arena, S.; Ianniello, A.; Nozzolillo, A.; Turrini, M.; Streito, L. M.; Abbadessa, G.; Ferraro, E.; Mattioli, M.; Chiodi, A.; Maldonato, N. M.; Bonavita, S.; Clerico, M.; Cordioli, C.; Moiola, L.; Patti, F.; Lavorgna, L.; Filippi, M.; Borriello, G.; D'Amico, E.; Pozzilli, C.; Brescia Morra, V.; Petracca, M.; Lanzillo, R.. - In: JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MEDICINE. - ISSN 2077-0383. - 12:6(2023). [10.3390/jcm12062215]