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Keywords:

  • Genital Image;
  • Gynecological Exam;
  • Validity;
  • Reliability;
  • Vulva;
  • Vagina

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Gynecological exams continue to be underused among young women, possibly due to a woman's genital self-image.

Aims.  The purpose of this study was to (i) examine college women's genital image using the Female Genital Self-Image Scale (FGSIS); (ii) assess the reliability, validity, and factor structure of data collected on the FGSIS; and (iii) examine the relationship between FGSIS scores and gynecological exam behaviors.

Method.  Data were collected in November/December 2010 from 450 undergraduate women.

Main Outcome Measures.  Descriptive statistics were utilized to analyze demographic variables. A comprehensive psychometric assessment of the FGSIS included: (i) a reliability assessment of internal consistency; (ii) conducting a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to identify factor structure; and (iii) structural equation modeling and predictive discriminant analysis to asses the predictive qualities of the FGSIS on gynecological exam behavior.

Results.  CFA analyses yielded a two-factor FGSIS structure: X2 (12, N = 450) = 49.77; P < 0.001, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation = 0.08, Comparative Fit Index = 0.98, Normed Fit Index = 0.97. Reliability assessments indicated very good internal consistency for the scale (α = 0.89), as well as for factor one (α = 0.86) and factor two (α = 0.82). Women who engaged in at least one gynecological exam during the past 24 months had a significantly more positive genital self-image than those who had not (t (449) = −2.501; P = 0.01).

Conclusions.  Data collected using the FGSIS were found to be valid and reliable in this sample, further supporting the utility of the scale and aiding in the understanding of college women's genital image using an underlying two-factor approach. This has important implications for the development of sexual health and women's health programs and discussions. Specifically, a two-factor FGSIS can aid medical and health professionals in better understanding relationships between genital image and gynecological exam behavior. DeMaria AL, Hollub AV, and Herbenick D. The Female Genital Self-Image Scale (FGSIS): Validation among a sample of female college students. J Sex Med 2012;9:708–718.