Validation of the female sexual distress scale-revised for assessing distress in women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder

J Sex Med. 2008 Feb;5(2):357-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00672.x. Epub 2007 Nov 27.


Introduction: The concept of sexually related personal distress is currently central to the diagnosis of all female sexual dysfunctions (FSD). In the current study, we have focused on validating a slightly revised version of the Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS), the FSDS-Revised (FSDS-R), to enhance the sensitivity of the instrument with patients suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). In addition, we have attempted to extend the validation generalizability of the scale by demonstrating that both instruments possess reliability and discriminative validity in premenopausal women with HSDD.

Aim: To assess the validity of the revised version of the FSDS, the FSDS-R, for measuring sexual distress in women with HSDD.

Methods: A prospective methodological study carried out at 27 centers in North America enrolled 296 women aged 18-50 years with HSDD, another female sexual dysfunction (FSD), or no FSD. The subjects completed the FSDS-R at baseline, day 7, and day 28, with a 30-day recall at baseline and with a 7-day recall on days 7 and 28.

Main outcome measures: Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses of FSDS, FSDS-R, and FSDS-R item 13 were used for the differentiation of HSDD from no FSD, while intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to estimate test-retest reliability. Cronbach's coefficient alpha was used to measure the internal consistency of the FSDS-R and Pearson's correlation coefficient to assess FSDS, FSDS-R, and FSDS-R item 13 with different recall periods (7 and 30 days).

Results: Mean total FSDS, FSDS-R, and FSDS-R item 13 scores with either recall period were significantly higher (P < 0.0001) in women with FSD or HSDD than in women with no FSD, showing both tests had discriminant validity. ROC analysis confirmed these findings, while an ICC of >0.74 showed the test-retest reliability of both scales, including FSDS-R item 13 alone, and Cronbach's coefficient alpha of >0.86 confirmed the internal consistency of both tests.

Conclusions: Consistent with the FSDS, the FSDS-R demonstrated good discriminant validity, high test-retest reliability, and a high degree of internal consistency in measuring sexually related personal distress in women with HSDD. FSDS-R item 13 alone also demonstrated good discriminant validity and test-retest reliability.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / diagnosis*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States
  • Women's Health*