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The Sexual Function Questionnaire's Medical Impact Scale (SFQ-MIS): Validation Among a Sample of First-time Mothers


  • Sofia Jawed-Wessel PhD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, USA
    • Corresponding Author: Sofia Jawed-Wessel, PhD, MPH, University of Nebraska, 6001 Dodge Street, 207-E, School of HPER, Omaha, NE 68104, USA. Tel: 8123223777; Fax: 402-554-3693; E-mail:

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  • Vanessa Schick PhD,

    1. Division of Management, Policy and Community Health, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA
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  • Debby Herbenick PhD, MPH

    1. Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
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  • [Change made after online publication on 20 Sept 2013: Sofia Jawed-Wessel’s degree has been updated.]



Changes in sexual function can be difficult to capture, especially when an attempt is made to assess the effects of pregnancy or childbirth on the sexual function of first-time mothers. Commonly used sexual function measures are limited and fail to account for pregnancy or birth in assessment of function.


The purpose of this study was to explore the utility of the Sexual Function Questionnaire Medical Impact Scale (SFQ-MIS) in assessing impact of childbirth on sexual function among first-time mothers with infants aged one year or younger.


A total of 255 women completed a cross-sectional, web-based survey. Exploratory factor analysis was utilized to assess the factor structure of the SFQ-MIS scores in this sample. Variations in SFQ-MIS scores based upon participant characteristics were conducted to further evaluate the SFQ-MIS scores.

Main Outcome Measures

SFQ-MIS score was the primary measure of interest. Factors related to pregnancy and childbirth, such as mode of delivery, infant date of birth, last menstrual period, need for an episiotomy or perineal stitches, breastfeeding status, and score on the Perceived Stress Scale, were also assessed in order to further evaluate the validity and predictive capacity of the SFQ-MIS.


Results indicated one factor that accounted for 58.27% of the variance in impact on sexual function due to childbirth. Cronbach's α coefficient for all five items was acceptable (0.82). Women who were breastfeeding (P < 0.05), those who had received perineal stitches after a vaginal delivery (P < 0.05), and those who reported no sexual activity in the past month (P < 0.001) experienced significantly greater impact than those who were not breastfeeding, those who had not required stitches, and those who had been sexually active in the past month.


The SFQ-MIS appears to be a useful and valid indicator of changes in sexual function following childbirth, such as those related to arousal, desire, and orgasm. Jawed-Wessel S, Schick V, and Herbenick D. The Sexual Function Questionnaire's Medical Impact Scale (SFQ-MIS): Validation among a sample of first-time mothers. J Sex Med 2013;10:2715–2722.