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An interviewer-administered validated female pelvic floor questionnaire for community-based research

Baessler, Kaven MD1; O'Neill, Sheila M. MD2; Maher, Christopher F. MD3; Battistutta, Diana PhD4

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181671b89
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Objective: The aim of this study was to design and validate an interviewer-administered pelvic floor questionnaire suitable for community-dwelling women to assess female bladder, bowel, and sexual function; pelvic organ prolapse; and condition-specific quality-of-life issues.

Design: The questionnaire was developed and administered during interviews of 493 community-dwelling women aged 40 to 79 years originally recruited from an age-stratified random sample from the electoral roll who were involved in a longitudinal study of aging in women. Full psychometric testing was performed. To assess discriminant validity, 55 consecutive patients attending a tertiary referral urogynecology clinic served as a comparison group.

Results: Face validity: The interviewer-administered questionnaire was easily administered and missing data did not exceed 2%. Discriminant validity: The questionnaire clearly discriminated the community population from the urogynecology patients in all pelvic floor domains. Convergent validity: The bladder function domain score correlated with the validated short version of the Urogenital Distress Inventory score. Bowel function scores correlated highly with corresponding items in an established bowel questionnaire. Prolapse symptoms correlated significantly with the pelvic organ prolapse quantification. Sexual function score (n = 257) correlated with the validated McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire score. Reliability: Cronbach's α for the bladder, bowel, prolapse, and sexual function domains was adequate (α ≥ 0.7). Kappa values in the test-retest analyses varied between 0.63 and 1.0 (test-retest reproducibility).

Conclusions: The interviewer-administered questionnaire assesses all aspects of pelvic floor function including condition-specific quality-of-life issues in a reliable and valid fashion. It is suitable for researchers investigating pelvic floor function.

This article describes the validation of a newly developed interviewer-administered pelvic floor questionnaire for community-dwelling women that assesses bladder, bowel, sexual, and prolapse symptoms; bothersomeness; and condition-specific quality-of life issues.

From the 1Pelvic Floor Centre Charité, Department of Gynaecology, Berlin, Germany; 2Betty Byrne Henderson Women's Health Research Centre, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospitals, Brisbane, Australia; 3Royal Brisbane and Women's, Wesley, and Mater Hospitals Brisbane, Auchenflower Qld, Australia; and 4Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove Qld, Australia.

Received October 31, 2007; revised and accepted January 3, 2008.

Financial disclosure: None reported.

The validation of the interviewer-administered pelvic floor questionnaire was presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Continence Society, Paris, 2004.

Address correspondence to: Kaven Baessler, MD, Pelvic Floor Centre Charité, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Department of Gynaecology, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: kaven.baessler@charite.de. Reprints are not available.

©2008The North American Menopause Society