Original Article | Volume 18: 44 | 25 Jul 2023

Psychological morbidities among spouses of men with type 2 diabetes mellitus and erectile dysfunction in a primary care setting


Introduction: Erectile dysfunction (ED) negatively affects patients’ emotions. However, its effect on spouses’ psychological well-being remains largely unknown. This study aimed to examine psychological morbidities and their associated factors among spouses of men with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and ED.
Methods: This cross-sectional study included 115 women recruited through their husbands who were patients at a selected government health clinic in Malaysia. A self-administered questionnaire containing the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 and items on health-related information, marital history, sexual history and perception of husband’s ED was used to assess possible depression, anxiety and stress.
Results: The prevalence of psychological morbidities was 28.7% (depression=17.4%, anxiety=25.2% and stress=10.4%). Most respondents were middle-aged [median (interquartile range)=44.0 (11.0) years], were employed (55.7%) and had a low income (81.7%). About 47.0% of the spouses had a medical problem. The mean marriage duration was 18.7 (standard deviation=7.9) years. Almost all (90.4%) had sexual intercourse (SI) within the previous month. The majority had moderate-to-high interest in SI (72.2%) with a frequency of one to two times per week (69.6%). The majority (75.7%) did not perceive their husband as having ED. Multiple logistic regression demonstrated that medical illness was significantly associated with anxiety (adjusted odds ratio=2.85, 95% confidence interval=1.11–7.29, P=0.029).
Conclusion: Psychological morbidities were present among the spouses of men with T2DM and ED. Psychological well-being was significantly affected by their medical illness. Despite their husband’s ED, the women declared to have regular sexual relationships and did not perceive their husband as having erectile problems.