The influence of social support on coping with Peyronie's Disease
The influence of social support on coping with Peyronie's Disease was examined in 68 men by means of a questionnaire. Disease duration ranged from 3 months to ten years. Patient age ranged from 30 to 78 years with a mean of 57.5 years. Nearly 100% of the subjects reported to be caucasian. The majority (58) were married. Most of the sample (56) reported involvement in an active sexual relationship. A preponderance of the sample reported 4 or more years of education beyond high school. Questions addressed discussion levels with significant others and professionals; perception of disease pattern; obsession with condition; psychological effects on self-esteem, marital satisfaction, libido, life satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction; physical effects including pain, bend, and ability for intercourse. An additional questionnaire, Snell & Papini's Sexuality Scales, was also sent to the patients.
The Sexuality Scales have been tested for validity and reliability and measures attitudes similar to what this researcher was endeavoring to measure. The Sexuality Scales measure sexual-esteem, sexual-depression, and sexual-preoccupation.
No statistically significant associations were found between discussion and obsession with the disorder using the X² test for independence. However, statistically significant associations were revealed when selected variables were submitted to stepwise multiple correlations, canonical correlations, and one-way ANOVAS. Six factors (or clusters) of interest also emerged when selected variables were submitted to a Factor Analysis. Declining ability for intercourse and increased penile bend and pain were consistently reliable predictors of subjects psychological well being.
Reported levels of discussion were surprisingly low. A full third of the subjects indicated they do not share with a spouse or any one else for that matter. Even more surprising were reported levels of obsession for their disorder. Nearly 85% reported thinking about their condition once a day or less. Several obstacles may preclude such sharing. To begin with, men seem disinclined to share their emotions and medical problems.
Second, the personal nature of this affliction exacerbates the first problem. If seeking help is emasculating, then seeking help about a condition that is in and of itself emasculating is even less likely to occur. To compound the problem, medical doctors may be missing the opportunity to encourage Peyronie's patients to discuss and share their problems with therapists or significant others.