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ORIGINAL RESEARCH—OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT: Development and Validation of a 6-Item Version of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) as a Diagnostic Tool for Female Sexual Dysfunction

Authors

  • Andrea M. Isidori MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Medical Pathophysiology, and
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
    3. These authors contributed equally to this work.
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  • Carlotta Pozza MD,

    1. Department of Medical Pathophysiology, and
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
    3. These authors contributed equally to this work.
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  • Katherine Esposito MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Geriatrics and Metabolic Diseases, Second University of Naples, Napoli, Italy;
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
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  • Dario Giugliano MD,

    1. Department of Geriatrics and Metabolic Diseases, Second University of Naples, Napoli, Italy;
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
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  • Susanna Morano MD,

    1. Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy;
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
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  • Linda Vignozzi PhD,

    1. Department of Clinical Physiopathology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy;
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
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  • Giovanni Corona MD,

    1. Department of Clinical Physiopathology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy;
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
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  • Andrea Lenzi MD,

    1. Department of Medical Pathophysiology, and
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
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  • Emmanuele A. Jannini MD

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Sexology, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy;
    2. Artemis Special Group for Female Health of the Italian Society of Endocrinology, Italy
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Emmanuele A. Jannini, MD, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, Coppito, L'Aquila 67100, Italy. Tel: 39 (0) 433530; Fax: 39 (0) 433523; E-mail: eaj@iol.it; emmanuele.jannini@univaq.it

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  A limiting step in the evaluation of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is the availability of a rapid screening procedure. Often, practitioners avoid investigating sexual symptoms due to concerns of insufficient time or lack of proper tools to address FSD.

Aim.  The purpose of this study was to prepare and validate an abridged form of the most popular psychometric diagnostic test (Female Sexual Function Index, FSFI-19) to provide a fast screener of FSD for easy use in outpatient visits, epidemiological studies, and assessment of treatment response.

Methods.  We interviewed and administered the FSFI-19 to 200 women attending outpatient clinics for sexual and reproductive medicine. Forty women were excluded because they had no sexual activity or failed to attend the retest visit. Patients were evaluated on two subsequent visits to validate the abridged form of the questionnaire. Overall, 105 were found to suffer from a FSD.

Main Outcome Measure.  We assessed, individually, the sensibility and sensitivity of all questions of the full-length FSFI. We then estimated the performance of each item with respect to the specific sexual domain they address. By selecting the best combination of performing items in each domain, we built an abridged, 6-item form of the FSFI.

Results.  The Receiver Operating Characteristic curves of the FSFI-6 showed that women who scored ≤19 were classified as having FSD. Using the cut-off of 19, the sensitivity and specificity of the test were, 0.93 and 0.94, respectively. Reliability, internal consistency, and stability on retest were also good.

Conclusions.  The abridged FSFI-6 is a valuable tool for screening women that are likely to suffer from FSD. In six simple questions, taking no more than 3 minutes, a score of less than 19 indicates the need for further investigations, including the full-length FSFI-19 and a dedicated interview. In conclusion, this is a novel tool that can help any doctor to disclose FSD rapidly and efficiently. Isidori AM, Pozza C, Esposito K, Giugliano D, Morano S, Vignozzi L, Corona G, Lenzi A, and Jannini EA. Development and validation of a 6-item version of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) as a diagnostic tool for female sexual dysfunction. J Sex Med 2010;7:1139–1146.

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