Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Health Promotion and Education, Ardabil University of Medical Sciences, Ardabil, Iran

2 PhD Student of Health Education and Health Promotion, Health Institute, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

3 Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China

4 Department of Public Health, School of Health, Ardabil University of Medical Science, Ardabil, Iran

5 Department of Nutrition, Khalkhal University of Medical Sciences, Khalkhal, Iran


INTRODUCTION: The world’s population is aging and this trend continues. Older adults are living
healthier and longer than in the last decades and their sexual function should also be considered
along with their general health. This study aimed to examine the correlation between general health
and sexual function in elderly women.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this cross‑sectional correlation study, 1245 women over 60 years
old were selected in Ardabil health‑care centers by a convenient sampling method. Demographic
data of all participants were noted and general health and sexual function were evaluated by the
Goldberg General Health Questionnaire and Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) Questionnaire.
RESULTS: The participants’ mean ± standard deviation age was 75.1 ± 7.2 years, most of the
women (40.08%) were illiterate, and the majority of them were living with their married (44.81%)
or single children (27.14%). The general health score for 380 older women (30.52%) was under
22 (healthy). About 60% of the women had engaged in sexual activity during the past 4 weeks,
and the total mean score of FSFI was 17.36 ± 1.44. In addition, 84.33% of the women had
sexual dysfunction (FSFI < 26.55). The age (P < 0.05), educational level (P < 0.001), living with
children (P < 0.01), and general health status (P < 0.01) were found to be significantly related to
sexual function. The total scores for FSFI and the scores for all domains except for satisfaction
were in positive correlation with the score for the total and all domains of general health (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Sexual function in elderly women is affected by several factors, such as general
health. Therefore, to promote successful aging in women, sexual function and general health require
more attention when implementing women’s health initiatives.


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