Protocol - Hand Dominance - 12 Years and Older

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The protocol consists of questions to determine which hand the participant uses for a series of activities.

Specific Instructions



The following protocol is part of a personal interview in which the participant reports on his/her own hand usage. Young Adult and Adult handedness is assessed using an 11-item scale. Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in the following activities by putting a 1 in the appropriate column (for right only, left only, or both hands) for each item that you use.

Right hand

Left hand

Both hands

1. Write

2. Draw

3. Throw

4. Hold a racquet

5. Clean teeth

6. Hammer

7. Strike a match

8. Use an eraser

9. Deal cards

10. Thread a needle

11. Cut food with a knife


Scoring: The participant indicates use by a "1" in the appropriate column (for right, left, or both) for each item that an adult uses. Add the "1"s in each column to get a total for that column. The sum of all three column totals is the cumulative total. To calculate the score: 100 x (right total - left total)/cumulative total. Handedness is then classified as follows:


Less than -40left-handed
Greater than or equal to -40 and less than 40mixed-handed
Greater than or equal to 40right-handed
Note: The activities listed in the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory method have been modified by the PhenX Anthropometrics Working Group.



Personnel and Training Required

The trained interviewer should be able to administer a questionnaire and be able to probe for information as necessary.

Equipment Needs


Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self- or proxy-reported value


Adolescent, Adult, Senior


This measure includes two protocols, each relating to a specific age of the participant. Consistent hand dominance starts to develop between 2 and 3 years of age and is usually completed by 6 years of age. Hand preference that appears before the age of 18 months may signal impaired neurological control of the other hand.

Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children Protocol (ALSPAC)
Child beginning at 42 months of age

Edinburgh Handedness Inventory
Participant aged 12 years and older

Selection Rationale

The Edinburgh Handedness Inventory was selected because of the detail of the activities that are performed.


Chinese, English

caDSR Common Data Elements (CDE) Preference Hand Laterality 2180147 CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Hand dom- 12Y proto EHI 56101-9 LOINC
Human Phenotype Ontology Laterality HP:0012831 HPO
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #1 reviewed the measures in the Anthropometrics, Diabetes, Physical Activity and Physical Fitness, and Nutrition and Dietary Supplements domains.

Guidance from the ERP includes:

• Revised description of measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)

Protocol Name from Source

Edinburgh Handedness Inventory


Oldfield, R. C. (1971). The assessment and analysis of handedness: The Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia, 9, 97-113.

General References

Porac, C., & Coren, S. (1981). Lateral preferences and human behavior. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX020602120500 Handedness is classified by the score. Variable Mapping
PX020602120400 SCORE = 100 x (TOTAL_RIGHT - TOTAL_LEFT) / more
PX020602050000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in cleaning teeth. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602110000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in cutting food with a knife. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602090000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in dealing cards. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602020000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in drawing. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602060000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in hammering. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602040000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in holding a racquet. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602070000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in striking a match. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602100000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in threading a needle. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602030000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in throwing. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602120300 How many Both hands in Questions 1-11? N/A
PX020602120200 How many Left hand in Questions 1-11? N/A
PX020602120100 How many Right hand in Questions 1-11? N/A
PX020602080000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in using an eraser. show less
Variable Mapping
PX020602010000 Please indicate your preferences in the use more
of hands in writing. show less
Variable Mapping
Measure Name

Hand Dominance

Release Date

March 27, 2009


Dominance is measured to assess the movement, mobility, and flexibility of an individual to determine which side of the body the study subject favors or the strength of hand activity.


This measure is used to determine which hand is dominant or more skilled for fine motor tasks than the other. Of the general population, about 90% have right hand dominance, about 10% have left hand dominance, and about 1% are mixed-handed or can use either hand interchangeably to complete a fine motor task (Porac & Coren, 1981). Hand dominance is thought to be influenced by genetics, and loci for relative hand skill have been mapped.


hand dominance - 12 years and older, Anthropometrics, dominance, handedness, ambidextrous, ALSPAC

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
20601 Hand Dominance - 42 Months and Older
20602 Hand Dominance - 12 Years and Older