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Study Shows Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming Children and Teens at High Risk of Mental Health Disorders

A large, population-based study in the May 2018 Pediatrics found high prevalence of anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorders among transgender and gender non-conforming children and adolescents.

For the study, "Mental Health of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth Compared with their Peers", researchers used electronic medical records to identify a cohort of 588 transfeminine and 745 transmasculine children (ages 3 to 9 years) and adolescents (ages 10 to 17 years) enrolled in integrated health care systems in California and Georgia.  In nearly all case, mental health diagnoses were several-fold higher among transgender/gender non-conforming youth than among matched reference groups.

The most common diagnoses overall were attention deficit disorder (transfeminine 15 percent; transmasculine 16 percent) and depressive disorder (transfeminine 49 percent; transmasculine 62 percent). Broken down by age group, gender nonconforming children tended to have a higher prevalence of anxiety and attention deficit disorders. In the adolescent group, attention deficit disorders and anxiety disorders were similarly common, but the diagnostic category with the highest prevalence in this age group was depressive disorders (found in 49 percent of transfeminine and 62 percent of transmasculine subjects).

Most worrisome, authors said, was the high frequency of suicidal thoughts and self-harm among the transgender/gender non-conforming adolescents, highlighting the importance of prompt evaluations and interventions to help save lives.  

​Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org:

Published
4/16/2018 12:00 AM
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