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The Relationship Between Depressive Symptoms and Male Erectile Dysfunction: Cross-Sectional Results From the Massachusetts Male Aging Study

Araujo, Andre B. BA; Durante, Richard PhD; Feldman, Henry A. PhD; Goldstein, Irwin MD; McKinlay, John B. PhD

Original Articles

Objective Studies have shown that there is an association between depression and male erectile dysfunction (MED). However, these earlier studies suffer considerable methodological flaws including: a) lack of a multidisciplinary approach; b) poor sampling techniques; and finally, c) poor and variable measures of MED and depression. Our objectives are: a) to determine whether MED is associated with depressive symptoms and b) to determine whether this association is independent of aging and para-aging factors.

Method Data were obtained from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS). The MMAS was a cross-sectional, population-based multidisciplinary survey of health in normally aging men (aged 40-70 years) conducted from 1986 to 1989. In the analytic model, depressive symptoms, as measured by a score of 16 or greater on the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale, was used as a predictor of MED, which was assessed with a self-administered questionnaire.

Results MED was associated with depressive symptoms after controlling for potential confounders (odds ratio (OR) 1.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.21-2.73).

Conclusions We conclude that the relationship between depressive symptoms and MED in middle-aged men is robust and independent of important aging and para-aging confounders, such as demographic, anthropometric and lifestyle factors, health status, medication use, and hormones.

From the New England Research Institutes (A.B.A., R.D., H.A.F., J.B.M.), Watertown, Massachusetts, and Boston Medical Center (I.G.), Boston, Massachusetts.

This research was supported by Grant AG-04673 from the National Institute on Aging and Grant DK-44995-02 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.

Address reprint requests to: Andre B. Araujo, BA, New England Research Institutes, 9 Galen St., Watertown, MA 02172. E:mail:

Received for publication February 21, 1997; revision received November 10, 1997.

Copyright © 1998 by American Psychosomatic Society
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