Monday, February 13, 2017

Study: Social transition significantly reduces anxiety and depression in gender dysphoric kids

Avery Jackson
Transgender girl Avery Jackson as she
appeared on the cover of National Geographic
A new study on gender nonconforming children has been published in the February edition of the prestigious Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The intent of the study was to evaluate the mental health and ego-strengths of gender nonconforming children who had socially transitioned. Results were then compared to gender nonconforming children who had not transitioned.

Before I go any further it is important to note that gender nonconforming children are fragile. Even with support they experience anxiety at higher levels than cisgender children. I find it astonishing that well educated and intelligent men in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church continue to assert that gender nonconformity is some form of recreation. I digress.

Quoting from the study:

Transgender children reported depression and self-worth that did not differ from their matched-control or sibling peers (p = .311), and they reported marginally higher anxiety (p = .076). Compared with national averages, transgender children showed typical rates of depression (p = .290) and marginally higher rates of anxiety (p = .096). Parents similarly reported that their transgender children experienced more anxiety than children in the control groups (p = .002) and rated their transgender children as having equivalent levels of depression (p = .728).

These findings are in striking contrast to previous work with gender-nonconforming children who had not socially transitioned, which found very high rates of depression and anxiety. These findings lessen concerns from previous work that parents of socially transitioned children could be systematically underreporting mental health problems.
In other words, parents should allow their kids to be who they are. They may grow out of gender nonconformity. They might not. That is the subject for another study I am sure. However, allowing children to socially transition provides a significant reduction in stress which leads to dramatic reductions in anxiety and depression. They will do better in school and be more successful overall.

Investigators at University of Washington: Lily Durwood, BA — Katie A. McLaughlin, PhD — Kristina R. Olson, PhD.

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