Measuring sexual functioning in premenopausal women


Correspondence: Mr A. M. Garratt, Department of Public Health, University of Aberdeen, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB9 2ZD, UK.


Objective To assess the validity and reliability of a measure of sexual function for premenopausal women.

Design A self-administered sexual function questionnaire, derived from the Sabbatsberg Sexual Self-Rating Scale, and other health measures were given to women who were randomly sampled from the community health index.

Subjects One hundred and forty-eight premenopausal women aged between 45 and 49 years.

Main outcome measures The content validity, internal consistency and construct validity of the revised sexual rating scale.

Results One hundred and thirty-seven women (92 %) responded to the main questionnaire and 89 (60%) completed the sexual rating scale, which possessed a high level of internal consistency; scores on the sexual ratings scale had small to moderate correlations with the measures of health, two of which (depression and role limitations attributable to emotional problems) were sufficient to explain 25 % of the variation in the sexual functioning scores.

Conclusion Questions derived from the Sabbatsberg sexual self-rating scale have been used to construct a simple, acceptable, valid and reliable measure of sexual functioning for women in the 45 to 49 years of age group. Such a measure could be widely used as an adjunct to clinical and more general measures of health in order to assess the impact of interventions on sexual functioning within clinical trials.