Sexual dysfunction in depression and anxiety: Conceptualizing sexual dysfunction as part of an internalizing dimension

Sean M. Laurent, Anne D. Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

143 Citations (SciVal)


Sexual dysfunction is often implicated in depression and anxiety disorders, but the current nosology of sexual dysfunction, depression, and anxiety (i.e., DSM-IV) does not adequately address these relationships. Because recent papers (Krueger, R. F., & Markon, K. E. (2006). Reinterpreting comorbidity: A model-based approach to understanding and classifying psychopathology. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2, 111-133) have suggested and provided evidence for latent internalizing and externalizing dimensions that help explain high comorbidity between mental disorders, the current paper suggests that sexual dysfunction might conceptually belong to a latent internalizing factor. To address this, evidence is presented for the relationship among disorders of sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm comorbid with depression and anxiety. A review of sexual disorders is also presented along with a critical examination of the way the current DSM is organized with respect to sexual dysfunction, depression, and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-585
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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