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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2012 Jul-Aug;30(4):505-13. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

Elaboration and validation of a questionnaire (Qualisex) to assess the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on sexuality with patient involvement.

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  • 1Paris Descartes University, Rheumatology B Department, Paris France.



Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may have consequences on sexual life. The objective was to develop and validate a questionnaire assessing the impact of RA on sexuality.


First, 6 patients (5 women, 1 man) with RA, 2 rheumatologists and 1 sexologist elaborated during a one-day focus-group type meeting an exhaustive list of issues relating to impact of RA on sexuality. The list was reduced by merging similar issues, then according to the relative importance for patients of each issue. A questionnaire was developed with input from these patients, with particular attention on phrasing. Psychometric properties (missing data, correlations with other disease aspects, reliability) were assessed in a multi-centre study.


The list of 33 issues related to impact of RA on sexuality included psychological issues (9), couple/relationship issues (9), physical issues (7), and general aspects (5). A 10-question numeric rating scale questionnaire was constructed. Preliminary validation was obtained on 53 patients (44 women, mean age 50.7 years; mean disease duration 14.4 years). The mean score was 3.3±2.5, missing data were acceptable (13%). Qualisex results were correlated with disease activity and symptoms (r=0.50-0.65, p< 0.001); but not with demographics, depression or coping. Qualisex was reliable in 40 patients: the intra-class correlation coefficient was 0.83 (95% CI: 0.70-0.91).


A simple (10 questions) and valid tool investigating impact of RA on sexuality has been developed with the involvement of patients. This tool can be useful to assess this important aspect of quality of life.

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