Changes in Sexual Functions and Alexithymia Levels of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

DİNCER B., Ayaz E. Y. , Oguz A.

SEXUALITY AND DISABILITY, vol.39, pp.461-478, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11195-021-09693-0
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, Psycinfo, Social services abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.461-478
  • Keywords: Type 2 diabetes, COVID-19, Changes in sexual functioning, Alexithymia, Anxiety, Depression, Turkey, DYSFUNCTION, ANXIETY, IMPACT, SCALE, RELIABILITY, DEPRESSION, VALIDITY, TRAUMA, HEALTH, CARE


This study was conducted to determine the changes in sexual functioning and alexithymia levels in patients with type 2 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted with 162 patients with type 2 diabetes. Data were collected using the Information Form, Toronto Alexithymia Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. For 83.3% of the participants, there was a decrease in sexual functioning after diabetes, 69.8% after the COVID-19 pandemic, and 67.2% due to both conditions. The majority of the patients stated the reasons for experiencing sexual problems related to not seeing sexuality as a priority (77.1%), and stress/anxiety experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic (67.9%). Moreover, patients' alexithymia, anxiety, and depression levels were found to be high during the pandemic, when the study was conducted. A positive correlation was identified between alexithymia and anxiety and depression. Further, multiple regression results indicated that about 50% of alexithymia levels could be explained by anxiety and depression levels. The anxiety, depression, and alexithymia scores of those who had decreased sexual functioning before and during the pandemic period were statistically significantly higher than those who did not have any change (p < 0.01). During the COVID-19 pandemic when the study was conducted, high levels of alexithymia, anxiety, and depression were observed in participants, and it was found that their sexual functioning was negatively affected. Healthcare professionals should evaluate their patients in extraordinary situations such as epidemics and pandemics in terms of sexual functioning as well as other vital functions.