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J Sex Marital Ther. 2002 Jul-Sep;28(4):317-30.

The Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS): initial validation of a standardized scale for assessment of sexually related personal distress in women.

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University of Maryland, Suite 402 SON, Baltimore, 655 W. Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


Recent consensus-based characterizations of female sexual dysfunction have emphasized personal distress as an essential component of their definition. To assist researchers and clinicians, we developed a new scale, the Female Sexual Distress Scale, to measure sexually related personal distress in women. In this article, we describe the initial stages in the development and validation of this instrument. Three studies involving a total of approximately 500 women were performed to evaluate the reliability and validity of the scale in different samples of sexually functional and dysfunctional women. Results indicated a unidimensional factor structure in both the original 20-item version and in a "polished" 12-item version. We observed a high degree of internal consistency and test-retest reliability in both versions across all three studies. Additionally, the scale showed a high degree of discriminative ability to distinguish between sexually dysfunctional and functional women in each of the studies. One study also showed a strong sensitivity to treatment response. Finally, we observed moderate positive correlations with other conceptually related nonsexual measures of distress, supporting the construct validity of the scale. Overall, these findings provide solid support for the FSDS as a valid and reliable measure for assessing sexually related personal distress in women.

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