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Double Standard Scale

Sexual Problems Self-Assessment Questionnaire


    Elizabeth Rae Larson,1 Seattle Institute for Sex Therapy, Education and Research

    Malcolm H. McKay, Private Practitioner

The Sexual Problems Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SPSAQ) was designed to assess sexual and relationship satisfaction levels in couples presenting for sex therapy; it is a clinical evaluation tool that offers a brief, comprehensive assessment of adult clients�� levels of satisfaction in their sexual relationships.

Scoring forms provide client profiles. When used with a couple, a couple��s form lists each partner��s scores so that they can be compared. The instrument was not designed as a research tool and has not been tested for validity or reliability beyond the clinical applications it was designed to assess. Clients presenting with sexual difficulties often focus so narrowly on presenting issues that other, relevant and germane issues are not discovered until later in therapy. Even without numerical scores, a paper-and-pencil-marked questionnaire is useful in quickly providing a comprehensive assessment of problem domains.


The SPSAQ was developed from the classification system presented in A New View of Women's Sexual Problems (Kaschak & Tiefer, 2001). In developing the item content, we sought advice from a variety of colleagues. Leonore Tiefer and the New View listserve have helped in the wording, design, and use of the instrument, as have other therapists and health practitioners. Prior to designing a computer-administered version, we hand scored questionnaires.

   The entire form contains 73 items. The New View nosology (Kaschak & Tiefer, 2001) provides a more multidomain description of client experience than do the categories of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1994; DSM-IV, pp. 493–502). Items are organized into four domains. The domains as identified in the New View nosology are (a) Socio-Cultural, Political, or Economic, (b) Relationships, (c) Psychological Factors, and (d) Medical and Physiologic Factors.2 In the SPSAQ, we shortened ��Medical and Physiologic Factors�� to ��Physical Factors.�� Items in the SPSAQ have also been expanded to include male sexual concerns (Klein & Morin, 2005; Larson, 2005) and an additional domain, Overall Satisfaction, which contains two items: Sex Life and Emotional Intimacy (Larson, 2005).

   The SPSAQ is administered by computer, with individual respondents completing the assessment by keyboard and mouse. Upon completion, a paper printout of the results is immediately available. In our clinical setting, neither the individual's responses nor identifying data is electronically stored. The clinician is provided with a printed answer sheet with ample space for interview notes. For couples, an additional form provides space to list each partner��s scores and facilitates comparison.

   The instrument measures the subjective perceptions of each individual at the time of administration. The responses should not be confused with an objective measure of a symptom. The SPSAQ provides practitioners with quick, comprehensive feedback regarding clients�� subjective state of relational and sexual satisfaction.

   Additional material pertaining to this scale, including information about format, scoring, reliability, and validity is available in Fisher, Davis, Yarber, and Davis (2010). 

Fisher, T. D., Davis, C. M., Yarber, W. L., & Davis, S. L. (2010). Handbook of

      Sexuality-Related Measures. New York: Routledge. 

1Address correspondence to Elizabeth Rae Larson, Seattle Institute for Sex Therapy, Education and Research, 100 NE 56th Street, Seattle WA 98105; e-mail: therapy@sextx.com


2Marty Klein and Jack Morin (2005), in applying the ��New View�� nosology to a unified classification of women��s and men��s sexual problems, expanded the original Medical category to a more inclusive Physical Factors which we found more descriptive of respondents�� subjective reports.


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