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Taboo Perception of Incontinence, Depression and Cancer

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Medical University of Vienna Identifier:
First received: July 14, 2009
Last updated: NA
Last verified: July 2009
History: No changes posted

Objective/study hypothesis To evaluate how much of a taboo UI is and how it compares to other medical conditions that may also pose a taboo issue like depression and cancer.

Background Urinary incontinence (UI) is a highly prevalent condition with more than 200 million people worldwide being affected. While physical health does not necessarily have to be impaired much, restriction of social activities leads to isolation, a significant reduction in quality of life and will often bring about subsequent morbidity. Despite its prevalence, many patients suffering from UI go undiagnosed and untreated. Patients often hesitate to report the problem, and health care professionals often do not ask about it. In a study Minassian (2003) estimated that just one in four patients actively seeks medical attention. The reason for this may lie in the shame, embarrassment, and stigma associated with this condition, which in turn pose significant barriers to seeking professional treatment. Although mentioned by many narrative reviews and included in some epidemiological papers on UI, surprisingly we found no data addressing the taboo of UI exclusively. The aim of our study therefore was

Methods/Design A 13-question self-administered questionnaire was developed and face validity tested by 2 of the authors (KH, EH). The anonymous questionnaire contained simple questions on gender and age and then asked yes/no questions on whether test persons knew people with UI, or suspected other people to be incontinent, if they would address this issue with the suspected person, and if they thought that UI was a taboo issue in the society. On a scale from 0 - 10 they were then asked to grade the amount of embarrassment and anxiety if they themselves were incontinent, compared to depression or cancer. A few questions on knowledge of the condition of UI and to whom test persons would turn to in case of UI concluded the short questionnaire, which took about 5 minutes to fill in. A convenience sample of 150 test persons from waiting areas of a teaching hospital and in private practices of general practitioners in Austria agreed to take part in the study, with an additional 10 persons (6.2%) declining after being informed about the subject. Data were analysed with the SPSS 10.0.5 software package using the U-test, Chi-square-test, Yates-correction, Fisher's exact test and Kolmogorov-Smirnov normality test where appropriate.

Urinary Incontinence Awareness
Gender Differences

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Ecologic or Community
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Official Title: The Greatest Taboo- Urinary Incontinence, Depression and Cancer

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Medical University of Vienna:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Perception of given medical condition as a taboo issue [ Time Frame: single point in time ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Knowledge of treatment options of incontinence [ Time Frame: single point in time ]
  • Knowledge of friends or relatives with incontinence [ Time Frame: single point in time ]

Enrollment: 150
Study Start Date: November 2005
Study Completion Date: April 2007
Primary Completion Date: April 2006 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
18-100 years
Educational level
primary school, secondary school, university


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
A convenience sample of 150 test persons from waiting areas of a teaching hospital and in private practices of general practitioners in Austria agreed to take part in the study, with an additional 10 persons (6.2%) declining after being informed about the subject.

Inclusion Criteria:

- Subjects older than 18 years willing to take part in study mentally capable to understand and fill in anonymous questionnaire

Exclusion Criteria:

- incomplete questionnaire

  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00939432

Medical University of Vienna Austria
Vienna, Austria, 1090
Sponsors and Collaborators
Medical University of Vienna
  More Information

Responsible Party: Engelbert Hanzal, MD Assoc Prof, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Vienna Austria Identifier: NCT00939432     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: EK 453/2008
Study First Received: July 14, 2009
Last Updated: July 14, 2009

Keywords provided by Medical University of Vienna:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Urinary Incontinence
Behavioral Symptoms
Urination Disorders
Urologic Diseases
Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms
Urological Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms
Elimination Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on April 28, 2017