Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Endocr Rev. 2018 Aug 1;39(4):424-439. doi: 10.1210/er.2017-00246.

Sex and Gender Differences Research Design for Basic, Clinical, and Population Studies: Essentials for Investigators.

Author information

1
Division of Women's Health, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
2
Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
3
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
4
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
5
Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
6
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
7
Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
8
Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
9
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Abstract

A sex- and gender-informed perspective increases rigor, promotes discovery, and expands the relevance of biomedical research. In the current era of accountability to present data for males and females, thoughtful and deliberate methodology can improve study design and inference in sex and gender differences research. We address issues of motivation, subject selection, sample size, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, considering implications for basic, clinical, and population research. In particular, we focus on methods to test sex/gender differences as effect modification or interaction, and discuss why some inferences from sex-stratified data should be viewed with caution. Without careful methodology, the pursuit of sex difference research, despite a mandate from funding agencies, will result in a literature of contradiction. However, given the historic lack of attention to sex differences, the absence of evidence for sex differences is not necessarily evidence of the absence of sex differences. Thoughtfully conceived and conducted sex and gender differences research is needed to drive scientific and therapeutic discovery for all sexes and genders.

PMID:
29668873
DOI:
10.1210/er.2017-00246
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center