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      Psychological Treatment of Low Sexual Desire in Women: Protocol for a Randomized, Waitlist-Controlled Trial of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral and Mindfulness-Based Treatments

      , MSc 1 , , Prof Dr 1 , , PD Dr 1 ,
      (Reviewer), (Reviewer)
      JMIR Research Protocols
      JMIR Publications
      sexual desire, sexual dysfunction, women’s sexual health, cognitive behavioral therapy

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          Psychological therapies are effective treatments for hypoactive sexual desire dysfunction (HSDD; formerly hypoactive sexual desire disorder), a common sexual dysfunction among women. Access to evidence-based treatments, however, remains difficult. Internet-based interventions are effective for a variety of psychological disorders and may be a promising means to close the treatment gap for HSDD.


          This article describes the treatment protocol and study design of a randomized controlled trial, aiming to study the efficacy of cognitive behavioral and mindfulness-based interventions delivered via the internet for women with HSDD to a waitlist control group. Outcomes are sexual desire (primary) and sexual distress (secondary). Additional variables (eg, depression, mindfulness, rumination) will be assessed as potential moderators or mediators of treatment success.


          A cognitive behavioral and a mindfulness-based self-help intervention for HSDD will be provided online. Overall, 266 women with HSDD will be recruited and assigned either to one of the intervention groups, or to a waitlist control group (2:2:1). Outcome data will be assessed at baseline, at 12 weeks, and at 6 and 12 months after randomization. Intention-to-treat and completer analyses will be conducted.


          We expect improvements in sexual desire and sexuality-related distress in both intervention groups compared to the waitlist control. Recruitment has begun in January 2019 and is expected to be completed in August 2021. Results will be published in 2022.


          This study aims to contribute to the improvement and dissemination of psychological treatments for women with HSDD and to clarify whether cognitive behavioral and/or mindfulness-based treatments for HSDD are feasible and effective when delivered via the internet.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03780751; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03780751

          International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID)


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          Most cited references67

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            Validation and standardization of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screener (GAD-7) in the general population.

            The 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) is a practical self-report anxiety questionnaire that proved valid in primary care. However, the GAD-7 was not yet validated in the general population and thus far, normative data are not available. To investigate reliability, construct validity, and factorial validity of the GAD-7 in the general population and to generate normative data. Nationally representative face-to-face household survey conducted in Germany between May 5 and June 8, 2006. Five thousand thirty subjects (53.6% female) with a mean age (SD) of 48.4 (18.0) years. The survey questionnaire included the GAD-7, the 2-item depression module from the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and demographic characteristics. Confirmatory factor analyses substantiated the 1-dimensional structure of the GAD-7 and its factorial invariance for gender and age. Internal consistency was identical across all subgroups (alpha = 0.89). Intercorrelations with the PHQ-2 and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale were r = 0.64 (P < 0.001) and r = -0.43 (P < 0.001), respectively. As expected, women had significantly higher mean (SD) GAD-7 anxiety scores compared with men [3.2 (3.5) vs. 2.7 (3.2); P < 0.001]. Normative data for the GAD-7 were generated for both genders and different age levels. Approximately 5% of subjects had GAD-7 scores of 10 or greater, and 1% had GAD-7 scores of 15 or greater. Evidence supports reliability and validity of the GAD-7 as a measure of anxiety in the general population. The normative data provided in this study can be used to compare a subject's GAD-7 score with those determined from a general population reference group.
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              Missing data: our view of the state of the art.

              Statistical procedures for missing data have vastly improved, yet misconception and unsound practice still abound. The authors frame the missing-data problem, review methods, offer advice, and raise issues that remain unresolved. They clear up common misunderstandings regarding the missing at random (MAR) concept. They summarize the evidence against older procedures and, with few exceptions, discourage their use. They present, in both technical and practical language, 2 general approaches that come highly recommended: maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian multiple imputation (MI). Newer developments are discussed, including some for dealing with missing data that are not MAR. Although not yet in the mainstream, these procedures may eventually extend the ML and MI methods that currently represent the state of the art.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                September 2020
                29 September 2020
                : 9
                : 9
                : e20326
                [1 ] Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Mental Health Research and Treatment Center Faculty of Psychology Ruhr University Bochum Bochum Germany
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Julia Velten julia.velten@ 123456rub.de
                Author information
                ©Milena Meyers, Jürgen Margraf, Julia Velten. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 29.09.2020.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 10 June 2020
                : 21 July 2020
                : 16 August 2020
                : 16 August 2020

                sexual desire,sexual dysfunction,women’s sexual health,cognitive behavioral therapy


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