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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interpersonal Sensitivity and Sexual Functioning in Young Men with Testicular Cancer: the Moderating Role of Coping

  • Author(s): Hoyt, MA
  • McCann, C
  • Savone, M
  • Saigal, CS
  • Stanton, AL
  • et al.

© 2015 International Society of Behavioral Medicine Background: Interpersonal sensitivity is characterized by the predisposition to perceive and elicit criticism, rejection, and negative social evaluation. It may be linked to poorer physical or functional health outcomes, particularly in the interpersonal context (cancer-related sexual dysfunction). Purpose: This study tested the association of interpersonal sensitivity with sexual functioning following testicular cancer in young men and whether this association is moderated by coping processes. Method: Men ages 18 to 29 (N = 171; M age = 25.2, SD = 3.32) with a history of testicular cancer were recruited via the California State Cancer Registry and completed questionnaire measures including assessments of interpersonal sensitivity, sexual functioning, and approach and avoidance coping. Results: Regression analysis controlling for education, age, partner status, ethnic status, and time since diagnosis revealed that higher interpersonal sensitivity was significantly related to lower sexual functioning (β = −0.18, p < 0.05). Cancer-related approach-oriented coping was associated with better sexual functioning (β = 0.19, p < 0.05). No significant association was observed for avoidance coping (β = −0.08, ns). Approach-oriented coping, but not avoidance, moderated the relationship with sexual functioning (β = 0.19, p < 0.05), such that higher interpersonal sensitivity was more strongly associated with lower functioning among men with relatively low use of approach coping. Conclusion: Interpersonal sensitivity may be an important individual difference in vulnerability to sexual dysfunction after testicular cancer. Enhancement of coping skills may be a useful direction for intervention development for interpersonally sensitive young men with cancer.

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