Prevalence and Correlates of Sexuality-Related Distress among Older Adults in the United States

Adena M. Galinsky, University of Chicago

Despite the burgeoning literature on sexual disorders among older adults, and the addition of distress to the DSM-IV’s diagnostic criteria for sexual disorders, prevalence and predictors of sexual-experience-caused distress in the older adult population are unknown. This study uses data from the 2005-2006 National Social Life Health and Aging Project, which surveyed community-dwelling men and women ages 57-85, to fill this gap. Examining the 1,352 respondents who reported having sex in the previous year, we model distress about seven sexual experiences as a function of a set of individual and relationship factors, among those who report each experience. Gender is the most consistent predictor of distress, but sexual attitudes, sexual habits, partnered sexual behavior, relationship quality, and presence of other sexual problems also predict distress about some of the sexual experiences examined. This study makes a significant contribution to a literature that has primarily focused on clinical samples.

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Presented in Session 147: Sex and Sexuality