246252 Utility of the Sexual Function Questionnaire among postpartum women

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 11:10 AM

Sofia Jawed-Wessel , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Vanessa Schick, PhD , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
BACKGROUND: Studies have found a significant decline in female sexual function during pregnancy and post childbirth. Despite these findings, a lack of validated measures has made this literature difficult to compare and reproduce. The Sexual Function Questionnaire (SFQ) is a gender-specific, 30-item measure of sexual functioning that was originally validated for use with cancer patients/survivors, and which may offer a means of quantitatively measuring sexual function in postpartum women. METHODS: The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of the SFQ among postpartum women using exploratory factor analysis. Women completed an online survey that included the SFQ as well as demographic and behavioral variables. In order to modify the instrument for this population, items using the phrases “treatment” or “illness” were replaced with “childbirth”. The relationship between sexual functioning and age, delivery mode, perineal stitches and breastfeeding were also investigated. Additionally, one open-ended item asking how sex has changed since childbirth was coded. RESULTS: The online survey was completed by 212 first-time mothers with infants one year or younger. The majority of respondents were married or partnered (98%), heterosexual (90.6%) and Caucasian/White (90.6%). A Cronbach's alpha of .84 was obtained for SFQ subscale scores, e.g. Arousal (2.10, SD= 1.22), Interest (2.39, SD= 1.21), Behavior (2.70, SD= .98), Desire (3.30, SD= 1.24) and Orgasm (3.26, SD= 1.08). CONCLUSIONS: Subscale scores indicate lower levels of sexual functioning among participants, especially concerning arousal, interest and behavior. Analysis of the open-ended item shows variability in experiences among participants regarding perceived sexual changes.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Discuss the strength of the SFQ as a measure of sexual function among postpartum women. 2) Identify the variables most related to sexual function. 3) Compare the participants’ perceptions of how sex has changed with SFQ subscale scores.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I have spent approximately three years interning/volunteering at a local community non-profit that works with new parents, offers childbirth education and postpartum education. I am also a project coordinator at The Center for Sexual Health Promotion.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.