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Deriving a clinical prediction rule to target sexual healthcare to women attending British General Practices.

Publication date: 

2018-04-30 00:00:00


Preventive Medicine 2018; 112: 185-192


Edelman N, Cassell JA, Mercer CH, Bremner SA, Jones CI, de Visser RO.

Publication type: 



Some women attending General Practices (GPs) are at higher risk of unintended pregnancy (RUIP) and sexually transmitted infections (STI) than others. A clinical prediction rule (CPR) may help target resources using psychosocial questions as an acceptable, effective means of assessment. The aim was to derive a CPR that discriminates women who would benefit from sexual health discussion and intervention. Participants were recruited to a cross-sectional survey from six GPs in a city in South-East England in 2016. On arrival, female patients aged 16–44 years were invited to complete a questionnaire that addressed psychosocial factors, and the following self-reported outcomes: 2+ sexual partners in the last year (2PP) and RUIP. For each sexual risk, psychosocial questions were retained from logistic regression modelling which best discriminated women at risk using the C-statistic. Sensitivity and specificity were established in consultation with GP staff. The final sample comprised N = 1238 women. 2PP was predicted by 11 questions including age, binge-drinking weekly, ever having a partner who insulted you often, current smoking, and not cohabiting (C-statistic = 0.83, sensitivity = 73% and specificity = 77%). RUIP was predicted by 5 questions including sexual debut <16 years, and emergency contraception use in the last 6 months (C-statistic = 0.70, sensitivity = 69% and specificity = 57%). 2PP was better discriminated than RUIP but neither to a clinically-useful degree. The finding that different psychosocial factors predicted each outcome has implications for prevention strategies. Further research should investigate causal links between psychosocial factors and sexual risk.