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When sex hurts: Avoid, endure or try something different?
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (CHAMP)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8350-1836
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (CHAMP)
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (CHAMP)
Psykologiska institutionen, Mittuniversitetet i Östersund, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: IASR 42nd annual meeting, 2016Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Rationale/Background: Recurring vulvovaginal pain is a common problem among women, affecting between 8-30 % of women in reproductive age.  In addition to evident negative effects regarding sexual activities, -function and -satisfaction, vulvovaginal pain also has an impact on the individual’s daily life as well as overall quality of life. Despite these extensive consequences little is known about how women with vulvovaginal pain actually cope with sexual activities and the subsequent pain.

Research Questions: The study aims to explore how women with vulvovaginal pain cope with sexual activities that has an impact on their pain, and whether certain ways to cope are more or less adaptive in regards to a spectrum of psychosexual aspects.

Methods: The study is based on a student sample of women between 18 and 35 years old with recurring vulvovaginal pain (N=289). The CHAMP Sexual Pain Coping Scale (CSPCS) was created to measure coping behaviors among women with vulvovaginal pain. The scale was based on previous qualitative research where three apparent patterns of coping strategies has emerged; avoidance-, endurance- and alternative coping. Based on how the women responded to the avoidance- and endurance subscales of the CSPCS, cluster analysis resulted in four distinct groups of women with different profiles of coping. The coping subgroups were then compared in regards to several psychosexual factors.

Results: The results showed that women suffering from vulvovaginal pain cope with sexual activities and the subsequent pain in different ways. Women who showed a pattern of high avoidance and endurance coping strategies reported significantly higher levels of pain, lower sexual function, less sexual satisfaction and lower quality of life. In contrast, women who reported low levels of avoidance and endurance coping strategies showed significantly lower levels of pain, higher sexual function, as well as a higher satisfaction with their sex life and life in general.

Conclusions: The results of the study further manifests findings from earlier research while also making an important attribution in quantifying coping strategies in relation to vulvovaginal pain. Causal conclusions can not be drawn since the study is based on cross-sectional data. Hence, there is no knowledge to whether the coping strategy is a result of the individual’s current pain level or if the coping has an effect on the pain and associated psychosexual aspects. However, the study clearly reveals a strong association between vulvovaginal pain and how women cope with sexual activities. Future knowledge about this relationship will provide important theoretical and clinical implications regarding the development of the pain as well as potential clinical interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
Vulvovaginal pain, Coping, Psychosexual factors, Quality of life
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54718OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-54718DiVA: diva2:1065793
Conference
IASR 42nd annual meeting, Malmö, Sweden, June 26-29, 2016
Available from: 2017-01-16 Created: 2017-01-16 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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