Body- and sex-related problems are separate from other forms of psychological problems

26 May 2017

Body- and sex-related problems constitute a distinct group of psychological ailments that is most common in middle-aged women, according to a new study funded by the Academy of Finland.

The study shows that psychological problems relating to one’s body and sexuality, such as body dissatisfaction, disordered eating or sexual distress, are linked to each other but not strongly linked to externalising (e.g. aggression or substance abuse) or internalising (e.g. anxiety or depressive symptoms). In the study, women reported more psychological problems related to their body and sexuality than men.

Using data from 13,000 adult women and men in Finland, researchers at the Department of Psychology at Åbo Akademi University discovered that body- and sex-related symptoms are not expressions of internalising or externalising disorders, as was earlier believed. Comparing the levels of symptoms across gender and age groups, middle-aged women reported higher levels of body- and sex-related problems.

The result of the study, published online in PLoS One, can inform further research on diagnostics and treatment of psychological disorders.

Link to publication:

Source: Åbo Akademi University press release

Last modified 30 May 2017
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