Sex distribution of study samples reported in American Society of Biomechanics annual meeting abstracts

Sarah Bach, Melissa (Missy) M. Morrow, Kristin D Zhao, Richard E. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Study samples should be appropriately selected to maximize generalizability of results. Excluding one sex from studies of conditions that affect both sexes is problematic and has received attention as a public policy issue in the United States, resulting in legislation and recommendations made by the National Institutes of Health to address this deficiency of study designs. It is unknown to what extent biomechanical studies have inappropriately excluded one sex. The objective of this study was to provide objective data on this question. Methods: A retrospective review of random samples of abstracts presented at American Society of Biomechanics annual meetings from 1983 to 2013 was conducted to assess reporting of sex of study samples and whether the study samples were approximately balanced with respect to sex. Findings: We did not find a statistically significant increasing trend in the percentage of abstracts reporting sex over time. However, increasing trends were noted in the percentage of abstracts including both sexes (p < 0.05) and percentage of abstracts having an "approximately balanced" study sample containing 50 ± 20% females (p > 0.05). In 2013 the percentage of abstracts reporting studies having approximately balanced study samples was only 28%, far from the ideal level of 100%. Interpretation: While there has been modest change since 1983, there remains significant room for improvement in the reporting and composition of experimental studies reported at American Society of Biomechanics annual meetings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0118797
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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