A network analysis of selected psychosocial factors in Vulvodynia and its subtypes

Claudia Chisari, Ioannis Begleris, Mani B.Monajemi, Fiona Lewis, Rona Moss-Morris, Whitney Scott, Lance M. McCracken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Psychosocial factors are related to pain and sex-related outcomes in provoked Vulvodynia and possibly, in mixed and spontaneous Vulvodynia. However, a broader behavioural framework, such as the psychological flexibility model, has received limited attention in this context. Recently, additional psychosocial variables have also emerged that appear relevant to Vulvodynia, including perceived injustice, body-exposure anxiety during intercourse, and unmitigated sexual communion. The present study applied network analysis to explore relations between psychological flexibility, newly emerging psychosocial variables relevant to Vulvodynia, and their associations with Vulvodynia outcomes. The study also explored potential differences across Vulvodynia subtypes.

An online cross-sectional study of 349 participants with Vulvodynia (112 provoked, 237 spontaneous/mixed) was carried out.

Participants completed self-report questionnaires, including pain and sexual outcomes, depression, facets of psychological flexibility, body-exposure anxiety during intercourse, unmitigated sexual communion, and perceived injustice. Networks were computed for the total sample and provoked and mixed/spontaneous Vulvodynia subsamples.

Perceived injustice, pain-acceptance, and depression were “central” factors, among the included variables, in all models. Psychological flexibility processes were relevant for all networks. Depression was more central in the network for mixed/spontaneous Vulvodynia; body-exposure anxiety during intercourse was most central for the provoked subtype.

Among included variables, perceived injustice, pain-acceptance, depression, and psychological flexibility appear to be important in Vulvodynia. As different factors are significant across subtypes, tailored treatment approaches are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPain Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2021


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