A Population-Based Study Investigating the Association Between Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction and Psychological Distress Among Heterosexuals Academic Article uri icon


  • This study examined whether sexual/relationship satisfaction are differentially associated with mental health issues. Using data from a population-based computer-assisted telephone survey, the authors included in this study 3,800 respondents who had a regular heterosexual partner. The authors used 2 methods of scoring the K6 to produce measures of moderate psychological distress and serious psychological distress. Overall, 8.8% of men and 12.1% of women were classified as having moderate psychological distress, whereas 1.6% of men and 3.2% of women were classified as currently experiencing serious psychological distress. The association between satisfaction and mental health was influenced by sex and the severity of the mental health issue but not by type of satisfaction. After adjusting for demographic differences in mental health, low ratings of sexual/relationship satisfaction were both consistently associated with higher levels of moderate psychological distress in men and women and higher proportions of serious psychological distress in men. Although women may be able to resolve their satisfaction issues during less severe stages of psychological distress, for men there was a strong association between low sexual/relationship satisfaction and serious psychological distress.


  • Patrick, Kent
  • Heywood, Wendy
  • Smith, Anthony MA
  • Simpson, Judy M
  • Shelley, Julia M
  • Richters, Juliet
  • Pitts, Marian K

publication date

  • January 2013