Development and Psychometric Evaluation of a Scale to Assess Sexual Difficulties in Gay Men
McDonagh, Lorraine K.
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A sexual difficulty or dysfunction has been defined as the disturbance or inadequacy of normal sexual responding (Rowland, 2007). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) classifies sexual dysfunctions in accordance with the dimensions involved in a functional sexual response (desire, arousal, and orgasm). The purpose of the present research was to develop a psychometrically sound questionnaire that addresses outstanding empirical issues in sexual functioning literature, and, in so doing, improve understanding of sexual difficulties among gay men. To ensure that a nuanced understanding of male sexual functioning informed the scale development process, the combined use of qualitative and quantitative research methods was employed. Interpretations and experiences of sexual difficulties were explored through interviews and focus group discussions, and the resultant male conversation surrounding key emergent themes informed the generation of items. Based on a review of pertinent literature and feedback from experts in the area as well as from potential research participants, scale items were iteratively analysed. The outcome was two item pools; the first measuring physical sexual difficulties, the second measuring psychological sexual difficulties. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, reliability analyses, and tests of validity (e.g., convergent, discriminant, and known-groups) were subsequently conducted, offering support for the psychometric soundness of the Gay Sexual Difficulties Scale. Finally, the limitations of this research and directions for future research were outlined.