Evaluation outcome measures for interventions addressing sexual function problems
Sexual function and wellbeing is an important, but overlooked aspect of quality of life. Problems with sexual function are common and are associated with depression and poor general health. The two main intervention approaches for addressing problems with sexual function are medical and psychotherapeutic. Despite significant funding and pharmaceutical industry interest, development of pharmacological treatments has been modest, particularly for women. Interventions often need to address complex causes, which may be rooted in psychological, relational and socio-cultural spheres.
A key barrier to demonstrating effectiveness of biopsychosocial interventions is the lack of evaluation measures. Many measures exist but these are primarily designed as end-points in clinical trials and often fail to take account of patient priorities for change. Concerns surrounding the adequacy and narrow focus of existing widely-used measures of sexual function have prompted widespread interest in the development of improved, more holistic measures, which properly reflect individual concerns.
This study seeks to validate two existing measures of sexual function problems currently being piloted in a sexual problems clinic in London. As well as assessing the psychometric performance of the measure, we will also assess the potential of a single combined measure. Given the absence of evaluation measures currently, there is potential for this measure to become a primary evaluation tool for holistic treatment of sexual function problems in UK.