Psychometric validation of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer–Quality of Life Questionnaire Sexual Health (EORTC QLQ-SH22)

EORTC Quality of Life Group

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Group developed a questionnaire to assess sexual health in patients with cancer and cancer survivors. This study evaluates the psychometric properties of the questionnaire. Methods: The 22-item EORTC sexual health questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-SH22) was administered with the EORTC QLQ-C30 to 444 patients with cancer. The hypothesised scale structure, reliability and validity were evaluated through standardised psychometric procedures. Results: The cross-cultural field study showed that the majority of patients (94.7%) were able to complete the QLQ-SH22 in less than 20 min; 89% of the study participants did not need any help to fill in the questionnaire. Multi-item multi-trait scaling analysis confirmed the hypothesised scale structure with two multi-item scales (sexual satisfaction, sexual pain) and 11 single items (including five conditional items and four gender-specific items). The internal consistency yielded acceptable Cronbach's alpha coefficients (.90 for the sexual satisfaction scale, 80 for the sexual pain scale). The test-retest correlations (Pearson's r) ranged from .70 to .93 except for the scale communication with professionals (.67) and male body image (.69). The QLQ-SH22 discriminates well between subgroups of patients differing in terms of their performance and treatment status. Conclusion: The study supports the reliability, the content and construct validity of the QLQ-SH22. The newly developed questionnaire is clinically applicable to assess sexual health of patients with cancer at different treatment stages and during survivorship for clinical trials and for clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer–QLG (Grant number: 001-2016). Anne Lanceley was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) UCLH/UCL Biomedical Research Centre which is funded by the Department of Health. Juan Ignacio Arraras received funding from ‘la Caixa’ Foundation (ID 1000010434), Caja Navarra Foundation and UNED Pamplona, under agreement LCF/PR/PR15/51100007.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Cancer
  • Cross-cultural validation
  • Psychometric properties
  • Quality of life
  • Questionnaire development
  • Sexual health


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