The collection and reporting of measures of deprivation in musculoskeletal research: an international survey study

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Background: The reporting of deprivation measures is typically poor in musculoskeletal (MSK) research. Aims: To explore MSK researcher's perspectives on the deprivation indices and measures that are, or could be, collected and reported in their studies, and potential barriers and facilitators to collecting these data. Materials & Methods: An online international survey was undertaken to determine knowledge, use and reporting of deprivation indices and measures by MSK researchers and the factors which influence this. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: 42 respondents from 16 countries completed the survey. The index of multiple deprivation was the most well-known measure (26%) although only 17% had reported data from this index. Most commonly reported markers of deprivation were: employment (60%), education (60%) and ethnicity (50%). Most common barriers to collecting these data included: uncertainty on perceived importance of deprivation measures (79%), what should be collected (71%), and concerns on missing data and sensitivities from participants reluctant to provide this information (33%). Consensus on necessary measures to be collected and reported (88%) and improved awareness of the relationship between deprivation and MSK health (79%) were considered key activities to improve deprivation recording in MSK research. Discussion & Conclusion: There is poor awareness of the collection and reporting of deprivation measures in MSK research. Greater understanding on the importance of these data in reducing inequalities in MSK care is needed to facilitate improvement. This would enable greater assessment of generalisability and to assess whether interventions have different effects in people from different socio-economic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-523
Number of pages9
JournalMusculoskeletal Care
Issue number4
Early online date14 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • orthopaedics
  • rheumatology
  • economic status
  • clinical trials
  • RCT
  • generalisability

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