Omitted Data in Randomized Controlled Trials for Anxiety and Depression: A Systematic Review of the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Format of Original
American Psychological Association
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Objective: The current study examined the frequency with which randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of behavioral and psychological interventions for anxiety and depression include data pertaining to participant sexual orientation and nonbinary gender identities.
Method: Using systematic review methodology, the databases PubMed and PsycINFO were searched to identify RCTs published in 2004, 2009, and 2014. Random selections of 400 articles per database per year (2,400 articles in total) were considered for inclusion in the review. Articles meeting inclusion criteria were read and coded by the research team to identify whether the trial reported data pertaining to participant sexual orientation and nonbinary gender identities. Additional trial characteristics were also identified and indexed in our database (e.g., sample size, funding source).
Results: Of the 232 articles meeting inclusion criteria, only 1 reported participants’ sexual orientation, and zero articles included nonbinary gender identities. A total of 52,769 participants were represented in the trials, 93 of which were conducted in the United States, and 43 acknowledged the National Institutes of Health as a source of funding.
Conclusions: Despite known mental health disparities on the basis of sexual orientation and nonbinary gender identification, researchers evaluating interventions for anxiety and depression are not reporting on these important demographic characteristics. Reporting practices must change to ensure that our interventions generalize to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.