Ethnic Minority Representation in Female Sexual Dysfunction Questionnaire Validation: A Scoping Review

Carissa R. Battle, Rachel S. Rubin, Sheryl A. Kingsberg, Laith Alzweri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is a significant cause of distress for an estimated 12–24% of women, and over the past 5 decades several questionnaires have been developed for clinical practice. Aim: The purpose of this scoping review is to evaluate the ethnic representation of sample populations used in the studies to validate FSD questionnaires. Methods: A scoping review was performed using electronic databases, including PubMed and Scopus, to identify FSD questionnaires validated between 1976 and 2021. Weighted averages from the combined ethnicity data were compared to population data from 2019 US census data and 2018 healthcare workforce reports to evaluate epidemiologic diversity. Ethnicity data from each questionnaire were also investigated longitudinally to evaluate trends in representation over the past 50 years. Outcomes: Our outcome of interest was comparison of the weighted averages for ethnicity categories from validation populations to the US female general population, US female health care workforce, and US census data. Results: 48 validation studies were reviewed and showed that the average ethnic representation of the study populations relative to the US general population and US female health care workforce, respectively, was: Caucasian (83.7% vs 62.7% and 68.5%), Black (7.8% vs 13.3% and 8.3%), Hispanic (3.6% vs 16.0% and 9.6%), Native American (0.1% vs 0.8% and 0.3%), Asian (0.6% vs 6.4% and 6.2%), and Other (3.1% vs 0.7% and 1.4%). Clinical Implications: FSD questionnaires are relied upon in research and clinical settings, so lack of diversity in validation populations could lead to under recognition and undertreatment in ethnic minority women. Strengths & Limitations: Our results are dependent on the quality of data available from previously published validation studies. We attempted to account for biases in lack of data and size of validation populations by using weighted averages for making comparisons. We chose the US general population and female healthcare workforce for comparison and analyzed validation populations across multiple decades and geographic locations. Many of the validation studies were performed at least 10 years ago and may not reflect the current state of FSD and potential of questionnaire responses of ethnic minority women. This manuscript raises critical awareness regarding the lack of validated instruments for FSD in ethnically diverse women. Conclusion: Study populations used to validate FSD questionnaires demonstrate a trend of ethnic minority underrepresentation relative to the US female general and healthcare workforce populations. Battle CR, Rubin RS, Kingsberg SA, et al. Ethnic Minority Representation in Female Sexual Dysfunction Questionnaire Validation: A Scoping Review. J Sex Med 2022;19:1824–1838.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1824-1838
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Ethnic Representation
  • FSD
  • Female Sexual Dysfunction
  • Health Disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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