Internet- and mobile-based psychological interventions for sexual dysfunctions: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Anna Carlotta Zarski, Julia Velten, Johannes Knauer, Matthias Berking, David Daniel Ebert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual dysfunctions are highly prevalent and undertreated. Internet- and mobile-based psychological interventions (IMIs) could be a promising addition to close this treatment gap, given their accessibility, anonymity, and scalability. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated the efficacy of IMIs for sexual dysfunctions. A comprehensive literature search was conducted in August 2021 on randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of IMIs on sexual functioning and satisfaction compared to a control condition. Twelve RCTs with 14 comparisons were reviewed with six IMIs targeting female and six IMIs targeting male sexual dysfunctions and n = 952 participants were evaluated in the meta-analysis. IMIs were significantly more effective than control conditions (k = 11 waitlist control group, k = 3 online discussion board) at post-treatment for female sexual functioning (g = 0.59, CI: 0.28–0.90, I2= 0%) and satisfaction (g = 0.90, CI: 0.02–1.79, I2= 82%), and male sexual functioning (g = 0.18, CI: 0.02–0.34, I2= 0%). No significant effect was found for male sexual satisfaction (g = 0.69, CI: −0.13–1.51, I2= 88%) with substantial heterogeneity in studies. Most studies showed high dropout, with ten studies indicating some concern of risk of bias, and two studies showing high risk of bias. The results suggest that IMIs can be an effective treatment for sexual dysfunctions, although additional high-quality research is needed. Given the limited availability of specialized treatment for sexual dysfunctions and individual preferences for discrete treatment options, IMIs seem to be a valuable addition to routine care, empowering individuals to promote their sexual health on a guided self-help basis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139
Journalnpj Digital Medicine
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

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