To investigate the association of sexuality with sociodemographic (age, sex, education), medical (injury severity, time since injury), physical (fatigue, pain, independence), neuropsychological (memory, attention, executive function), psychological (depression, anxiety, self-esteem), and social participation factors after traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Survey. Individuals with TBI completed measures at a mean average of 2.78 years post-injury (range = 1-10.3 years).
All participants were community based at the time of data collection.
Eighty-four individuals with TBI consecutively recruited after discharge from rehabilitation and 88 age-, sex- and education-matched controls recruited from the general community.
Main Outcome Measure
Brain Injury Questionnaire of Sexuality (BIQS).
Individuals with TBI performed significantly worse on sexuality, mood and self-esteem measures compared to the healthy control group, supporting previous findings. Research findings highlighted a range of significant correlations between sociodemographic, physical, neuropsychological, psychological and social participation factors and sexuality outcomes after TBI. In the multiple regression model, older age, greater depression and lower self-esteem were significant predictors of poorer sexuality post-injury. Further analyses indicated that depression mediated the independent relationships between lower social participation and greater fatigue with a decline in sexuality after TBI.
These findings support sexuality changes after TBI as a multidimensional construct, highlighting depression as a key mechanism through which other factors may impact sexual functioning. Further research is needed to target assessment and intervention services for sexuality problems after TBI.