Development and validation of a single-item screener for self-reporting sexual problems in U.S. adults Journal Article


Authors: Flynn, K. E.; Lindau, S. T.; Lin, L.; Reese, J. B.; Jeffery, D. D.; Carter, J.; Baron, S. R.; Abramsohn, E.; Weinfurt, K. P.
Article Title: Development and validation of a single-item screener for self-reporting sexual problems in U.S. adults
Abstract: Background: Brief self-assessment of sexual problems in a clinical context has the potential to improve care for patients through the ability to track trends in sexual problems over time and facilitate patient–provider communication about this important topic. However, instruments designed for research are typically too long to be practical in clinical practice. Objective: To develop and validate a single-item self-report clinical screener that would capture common sexual problems and concerns for men and women. Design: We created three candidate screener items, refined them through cognitive interviews, and administered them to a large sample. We compared the prevalence of responses to each item and explored the discrepancies between items. We evaluated the construct validity of the items by comparing them to scores on the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System® Sexual Function and Satisfaction (PROMIS® SexFS) measure. Participants: Local patients participated in two rounds of cognitive interviews (n = 7 and n = 11). A probability-based random sample of U.S. adults comprised the item-testing sample (n = 3517). Main Measures: The items were as follows: 1) a yes/no item on any sexual problems or concerns (“general screener”), 2) a yes/no item on problems experienced for 3 months or more during the past 12 months, with a list of examples (“long list screener”), and 3) an item identical to the long list screener except that examples appeared individually as response options and respondents could check all that applied (“checklist screener”). Key Results: All of the screeners tested showed evidence for basic validity and had minimal missing data. Percentages of women and men endorsing the screeners were 10 % and 15 % (general); 20 % and 17 % (long list); and 38 % and 30 % (checklist), respectively. Participants who endorsed the screeners had lower function compared to those who did not endorse them. Conclusions: We recommend the checklist screener for its specificity and ability to identify specific problems associated with decreased sexual function. © 2015, Society of General Internal Medicine.
Keywords: adult; middle aged; major clinical study; sexual satisfaction; validation study; self report; sexual dysfunction; intermethod comparison; interview; construct validity; anxiety; sexual function; self evaluation; sexual behavior; penis erection; checklist; orgasm; vaginal lubrication; human; male; female; article; assessment of humans; patient reported outcomes measurement information system; sexual function and satisfaction
Journal Title: Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume: 30
Issue: 10
ISSN: 0884-8734
Publisher: Springer  
Date Published: 2015-10-01
Start Page: 1468
End Page: 1475
Language: English
DOI: 10.1007/s11606-015-3333-3
PROVIDER: scopus
PMCID: PMC4579234
PUBMED: 25893421
DOI/URL:
Notes: Export Date: 2 November 2015 -- Source: Scopus
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MSK Authors
  1. Jeanne Carter
    111 Carter