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The female sexual function index (FSFI): a potential “gold standard” measure for assessing therapeutically-induced change in female sexual function

  • M. Sand
    Affiliations
    Clinical Research, Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharma., Inc., Ridgefield, CT; New England Research Institutes, Inc., Watertown, MA; Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • R. Rosen
    Affiliations
    Clinical Research, Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharma., Inc., Ridgefield, CT; New England Research Institutes, Inc., Watertown, MA; Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • C. Meston
    Affiliations
    Clinical Research, Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharma., Inc., Ridgefield, CT; New England Research Institutes, Inc., Watertown, MA; Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • L.A. Brotto
    Affiliations
    Clinical Research, Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharma., Inc., Ridgefield, CT; New England Research Institutes, Inc., Watertown, MA; Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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      OBJECTIVE: The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) is a 19-item self-report inventory designed to assess female sexual function. It comprises six domains: desire [two items], arousal [four items], lubrication [four items], orgasm, satisfaction, pain [three items each]. The purpose of this review was to identify the number and focus of published articles that use the FSFI to assess therapeutically-induced change in sexual functioning in order to determine its level of acceptance by the scientific community.
      DESIGN: Systematic and comprehensive literature review.
      MATERIALS AND METHODS: The key terms “Female Sexual Function Index” and “FSFI” were used with eight databases (Ovid Current Contents, Ovid Medline, Ovid EMBASE, PubMed, Scopus, PsychInfo, Google Scholar and CMDI) to identify English language articles published between Apr–Jun 2000 (date of initial FSFI publication) to July 2008. Articles (and reference lists) were hand searched for relevancy.
      RESULTS: A total of 211 original publications were identified, of which 79 assessed the effects of interventions on female sexual function. The FSFI has been used to assess the effects of several interventions in women with Female Sexual Dysfunction including pharmacological (n=11), psychological (n=4), physical (n=2) and dietary (n=1) therapy. The tool has also been used to assess the effects of other interventions on sexual function in other populations of women including: gynaecological and non-gynaecological surgery (n=37); pharmacological (n=10), psychological (n=4) or physical (n=6) therapy; and treatment of erectile dysfunction or prostate cancer biopsy in their partner (n=4).
      CONCLUSIONS: Validation of a scientific measure is a continuous process that accumulates evidence from numerous studies. The results of this review show that the FSFI is sensitive to therapeutically-induced change and has become the de facto “gold standard” in the assessment of female sexual function.