Direct and Indirect Effects of Personality Traits on Psychological Distress in Women With Pelvic Floor Disorders

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Abstract

Objectives

The diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor disorders may involve subjective self-report symptom measures that may be related to personality traits. We aimed to construct a model that integrates pelvic floor disorders, personality variables (optimism and neuroticism), psychological distress, and related demographic variables.

Methods

In a cross-sectional study, conducted between August 2014 and June 2015, 155 women following an intake to an urogynecology outpatient clinic of a tertiary health center completed personality questionnaires of optimism and neuroticism (Life Orientation Test–Revised, 10-item Big Five Inventory), pelvic floor symptoms (Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory Short Form), psychological distress (18-item Brief Symptom Inventory), and a demographic questionnaire.

Results

A path analysis mediation model showed that patients who had more pelvic floor symptoms felt more psychological distress and that psychological distress increased as the level of neuroticism increased. As for optimism, the correlation to pelvic floor symptoms was nearly significant. Optimism and neuroticism had indirect effects on psychological distress through pelvic floor symptoms in women with urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Neuroticism had a direct effect on psychological distress in these women as well.

Conclusions

Our suggested statistical path analysis model supports the important role of personality traits in pelvic floor disorder self-reports and the effect of these traits on psychological distress. Therefore, the optimal treatment for pelvic floor symptoms should include psychological interventions in addition to traditional medical or surgical therapy in hope of reducing psychology distress associated with urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

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