Sexual function symptom scales should be used routinely to assess functional level (e.g. ability to respond, level of interest) and to determine the impact of therapy. The most frequently used type of instrument is the self-administered questionnaire. As with all psychometric instruments, the fundamental requirements for psychometric validity include reliability and validity. Reliability refers to the consistency or replicability of data, while validity reflects the degree to which an instrument or scale measures what it intends or claims to measure. Two essential indicators of validity for measures of sexual function are: sensitivity to diagnostic status (e.g. functional versus dysfunctional); and sensitivity to treatment change. Both are crucial features of any scale that is designed to serve as a diagnostic and/or efficacy measure in either clinical or research settings. Validated symptom scales are available for the assessment of male sexual dysfunction, as well as couple and partner questionnaires, quality of life and well-being measures. Most of the scales described in the table are well established and widely used in research or clinical settings.
In Table 2.2(on p.27) we review measures of sexual function (in alphabetical order), that may be used in either men or women (e.g. CSFQ), or with men only (e.g. IIEF, IPE). Each measure is reviewed in terms of its psychometric properties, its clinical utility and an overall rating based on a five-point scale. Questionnaires still in development or older measures not meeting current psychometric standards were not included in the table.
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