Women are an important public health focus, because they are more likely to experience some social determinants of disease, and they influence family health. Little research has explored the sociodemographic representativeness of women in research studies. We examined the representativeness of female respondents across four sociodemographic factors in UK population surveys and cohort studies. Six UK population-based health surveys (from 2009 to 2013) and eight Medical Research Council cohort studies (from 1991 to 2014) were included. Percentages of women respondents by age, income/occupation, education status and ethnicity were compared against contemporary population estimates. Women aged <35 years were under-represented. The oldest women were under-represented in four of nine studies. Within income/occupation, at the highest deprivation level, the range was 4% under-representation to 43% over-representation; at the lowest level, it was 6% under-representation to 21% over-representation. Of nine studies reporting educational level, four under-represented women without school qualifications, and three under-represented women with degrees. One of five studies over-represented non-white groups and under-represented white women (by 9%). Response patterns varied by topic and recruitment and data collection methods. Future research should focus upon the methods used to identify, reach and engage women to improve representativeness in studies addressing health behaviors.
Howcutt, SBarnett, ALBarbosa Boucas, SSmith, L
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health
Year of publication: 2017Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-03-07