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Modes, sexual beliefs, and cognitive schemas as important risk factors for male and female sexual dysfunctions: results from the Italian validation study of SMQ, SBDQ, and QCSASC

Nimbi, FM1; Tripodi, F2; Simonelli, C3; Nobre, PJ4

1: Sapienza University of Rome, Italy; 2: Institute of Clinical Sexology, Rome, Italy; 3: apienza University of Rome, Italy; 4: University of Porto, Portugal

Objectives: The literature highlights a significant role of automatic thoughts, sexual beliefs and cognitive schemas as risk factors triggering and maintaining sexual disfunctions. The aim of this study was to summarize the evidences highlighted in the validation studies of the Italian versions of the “Sexual Modes Questionnaire (SMQ)”, the “Sexual Dysfunctional Beliefs Questionnaire (SDBQ)”, and the “Questionnaire of Cognitive Schema Activation in Sexual Context (QCSASC)” for the clinical practice.

Material and Method(s): The results from three validation studies on 1051 participants (425 men and 626 women) are presented, focusing on clinical implications. The questionnaires assess different classes of cognitions related to sexuality, such as failure and erection concerns, age and body thoughts, erotic fantasies, attitudes towards sexuality, conservatism, occidental gender stereotypic roles and control over sexuality. Questionnaires ability to discriminate between sexually clinical and healthy people and the association between cognitive facets, emotions (measured by the “Positive and Negative Affect Schedule”), and sexual functioning (using the “IIEF/FSFI”) were explored.

Result(s): The Italian versions of SMQ, SBDQ and QCSASC demonstrated good psychometric properties. Results showed that these questionnaires can differentiate between sexually clinical and healthy people and that many cognitions evaluated are clearly gender specific: “Erection Concerns”, “Worries about Partner’s evaluation and Failure Anticipation thoughts” and “Macho Beliefs” for men; “Failure and Disengagement Thoughts” and “Age related Beliefs” for women. “Control over sexuality”, feeling “Helpless” and “Unlovable” were highlighted as important risk factors, without any gender difference. A strong association between cognitions, emotions and sexual functioning was also reported.

Conclusion(s): Our findings confirmed that cognitive aspects have a primary role on sexual health. The strong association with sexual functioning and emotions confirmed the need to operate under an integrated approach, considering cognitive, emotional and sexual aspect all together to elicit an effective improvement during the therapeutic process. These questionnaires are suggested for assessment and therapy evaluation. In research, they are useful to study psychosocial aspects of sexuality and can be implemented in multicultural studies.


Work supported by industry: no.

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