Words Matter: Sex and Gender as Unique Variables in Research

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Cardiovascular diseases, Female, Gender, Male, Nursing research, Nursing theory, Research design, Transgender, Variables


Sex and gender are not equivalent concepts, even though these 2 variables are often used interchangeably by researchers. The precise use of variables is critical to ensure that research and theoretical work is of the highest quality. This article defines sex and gender and the importance of recognizing both of these variables as being unique and then demonstrates the benefit of measuring both of these variables using the cardiovascular disease literature as an exemplar. Additionally, recommendations for scholars regarding the use of sex and gender in the research and theoretical literature are provided.


This article was published in Advances in Nursing Science 43, no. 3 (July/September 2020): 214-27. doi.org/10.1097/ANS.0000000000000295