Female Sexual Function Index Short Version: A MsFLASH Item Response Analysis

Janet S. Carpenter, Salene M.W. Jones, Christina R. Studts, Julia R. Heiman, Susan D. Reed, Katherine M. Newton, Katherine A. Guthrie, Joseph C. Larson, Lee S. Cohen, Ellen W. Freeman, R. Jane Lau, Lee A. Learman, Jan L. Shifren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) is a psychometrically sound and popular 19-item self-report measure, but its length may preclude its use in studies with multiple outcome measures, especially when sexual function is not a primary endpoint. Only one attempt has been made to create a shorter scale, resulting in the Italian FSFI-6, later translated into Spanish and Korean without further psychometric analysis. Our study evaluated whether a subset of items on the 19-item English-language FSFI would perform as well as the full-length FSFI in peri- and postmenopausal women. We used baseline data from 898 peri- and postmenopausal women recruited from multiple communities, ages 42–62 years, and enrolled in randomized controlled trials for vasomotor symptom management. Goals were to (1) create a psychometrically sound, shorter version of the FSFI for use in peri- and postmenopausal women as a continuous measure and (2) compare it to the Italian FSFI-6. Results indicated that a 9-item scale provided more information than the FSFI-6 across a spectrum of sexual functioning, was able to capture sample variability, and showed sufficient range without floor or ceiling effects. All but one of the items from the Italian 6-item version were included in the 9-item version. Most omitted FSFI items focused on frequency of events or experiences. When assessment of sexual function is a secondary endpoint and subject burden related to questionnaire length is a priority, the 9-item FSFI may provide important information about sexual function in English-speaking peri- and postmenopausal women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1897-1905
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Female Sexual Function Index
  • Menopause
  • Psychometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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