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Preliminary validation of the short symptom screener for women (SCS-W)

Burri, A1; Porst, H1

1: Germany

Objective. There is a great need for a comprehensive self-report screener for sexual complaints that can be quickly administered also by non-specialized clinicians. Subsequently former members of the ISSM Standards Committee for Sexual Medicine have developed the sexual complaint screener for women (SCS-W). However, at this stage the screener remains unvalidated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the validity and utility of the SCS-W to be used as a routine screening instrument in daily clinical practice.

Material and Methods. The study was part of a bigger project looking into women’s perception of male ejaculatory function. Recruitment was achieved by advertisements across Swiss universities and on various social media platforms. In the end, data was available for N = 309 women (mean age of 26.9 years, SD 6.6). In addition to the SCS-W, the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) was used for the establishment of convergent and discriminant validity. For convergent validity, Spearman bivariate correlations (r) between the single-item SCS-W domain score and the individual and total scores of the corresponding FSFI subscale were calculated. To assess discriminant validity, bivariate correlations between the single-item domain scores and the non-corresponding FSFI subscale scores were computed. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted with principle component analysis (PCA) for estimation of factors.

Results. Convergent validity of the SCS-W was excellent for the domain of orgasm, good for satisfaction, dyspareunia and the total questionnaire score, and acceptable for desire, lubrication, arousal, and vaginism. Discriminant validity was present for all domains apart from arousal, lubrication, and vaginism. PCA with subsequent varimax rotation confirmed the eight-factor structure of the screener with no identifiable complex items loadings.

Conclusions. The SCS-W shows good excellent convergent and good discriminant validity when compared to the gold-standard FSFI. The 8 facture structure could be confirmed. While providing initial evidence for its psychometric quality, especially in comparison with more extensively validated instrument such as the FSFI, the screener needs further testing for its sensitivity/specificity in clinical samples of women with FSD.


Work supported by industry: no. The presenter or any of the authors act as a consultant, employee (part time or full time) or shareholder of an industry.

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