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The development and psychometric properties of the sexual and relationship distress scale (SaRDS)

Frost, RN1; Donovan, CL1

1: Griffith University, Australia

Distress is an important factor in the aetiology, maintenance and treatment of sexual difficulties and as such the Third International Consultation on Sexual Medicine highlighted the need for validated measures of sexual distress for use as outcome measures in future clinical trials. Most measures currently available are gender-specific or dysfunction-specific and rarely measure the impact at the level of the couple relationship. Given that relationship factors strongly predict the degree of distress experienced, it is important to learn more about the interplay between sexual dysfunction and relationship satisfaction.

Objective: The Sexual and Relationship Distress Scale (SaRDS) was developed to meet the need for a measure of both individual and relationship distress within the context of sexual dysfunction.

Materials and Method: 73 initial items were created from the results of an earlier qualitative study and administered using an online survey to 1381 participants, along with measures for the purposes of psychometric evaluation including the FSDS-R, CSI-16, DASS-21, and questions relating to sexual function.

Results:            Multiple iterative rounds of factor analyses were conducted on the initial item pool, resulting in a 30-item, 14 factor measure. The CFA showed that this model has an adequate fit. The final measure demonstrated good psychometric properties, with strong internal reliability, and convergent and discriminant validity.

Conclusions: Unlike most measures in this field, the SaRDS is multi-dimensional and assesses 14 distinct yet related types of sexual and relationship distress experienced in the context of sexual dysfunctions. It can be administered across genders and both members of a couple. It therefore has multiple uses within both research and clinical settings.


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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