Do women fare worse: a metaanalysis of gender differences in traumatic brain injury outcome

J Neurosurg. 2000 Oct;93(4):539-45. doi: 10.3171/jns.2000.93.4.0539.


Object: The purpose of this metaanalysis was to investigate possible gender differences in traumatic brain injury (TBI) sequelae. The case fatality rates in patients after TBI have previously been shown to be significantly higher in women as compared with men.

Methods: A quantitative review of published studies of TBI outcome revealed eight studies (20 outcome variables) of TBI, in which outcome was reported separately for men and women.

Conclusions: Outcome was worse in women than in men for 85% of the measured variables, with an average effect size of -0.15. Although clinical opinion is often that women tend to experience better outcomes than men after TBI, the opposite pattern was suggested in the results of this metaanalysis. However, this conclusion is limited by the fact that, in only a small percentage of the total published reports on TBI outcome, was outcome described separately for each sex. A careful, prospective study of sex differences in TBI outcome is clearly needed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome