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Questionnaires for Assessment of Female Sexual Dysfunction: A Review and Proposal for a Standardized Screener

Authors


Annamaria Giraldi, MD, PhD, Department of Sexological Research, Rigshospitalet 7411, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen, 2100, Denmark. Tel: (45) 35 45 76 79; Fax: +4535457684; Email: annamaria@giraldi.dk

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  There are many methods to evaluate female sexual function and dysfunction (FSD) in clinical and research settings, including questionnaires, structured interviews, and detailed case histories. Of these, questionnaires have become an easy first choice to screen individuals into different categories of FSD.

Aim.  The aim of this study was to review the strengths and weaknesses of different questionnaires currently available to assess different dimensions of women's sexual function and dysfunction, and to suggest a simple screener for FSD.

Methods.  A literature search of relevant databases, books, and articles in journals was used to identify questionnaires that have been used in basic or epidemiological research, clinical trials, or in clinical settings.

Main Outcome Measure.  Measures were grouped in four levels based on their purposes and degree of development, and were reviewed for their psychometric properties and utility in clinical or research settings. A Sexual Complaints Screener for Women (SCS-W) was then proposed based on epidemiological methods.

Results.  Although many questionnaires are adequate for their own purposes, our review revealed a serious lack of standardized, internationally (culturally) acceptable questionnaires that are truly epidemiologically validated in general populations and that can be used to assess FSD in women with or without a partner and independent of the partner's gender. The SCS-W is proposed as a 10-item screener to aid clinicians in making a preliminary assessment of FSD.

Conclusions.  The definition of FSD continues to change and basic screening tools are essential to help advance clinical diagnosis and treatment, or to slate patients adequately into the right diagnostic categories for basic and epidemiological research or clinical trials. Giraldi A, Rellini A, Pfaus JG, Bitzer J, Laan E, Jannini EA, and Fugl-Meyer AR. Questionnaires for assessment of female sexual dysfunction: A review and proposal for a standardized screener. J Sex Med 2011;8:2681–2706.

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