A Study of Parent-Reported Internalizing Symptoms in Transgender Youths Before and After Childhood Social Transitions

Lily Durwood, Natalie M. Gallagher, Robin Sifre, Kristina R. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Some children socially transition genders by changing their pronouns (and often names, hairstyles, and clothing) from those associated with their assigned sex at birth to those associated with their gender identity. We refer to children who have socially transitioned as transgender children. Using a prospective sample of children who socially transitioned during childhood (at or before the age of 12; age of transition: M = 6.82 years), we tested whether the parent-reported internalizing symptoms of transgender children were different before versus after they socially transitioned. The children were predominantly White (70.6% White) and girls (76.5% transgender girls, 23.5% transgender boys). Their parents tended to have high levels of education (74.5% bachelor’s degree or above) and lived in families with high household incomes (62.7% with household incomes of $75,000 or above). On average, youths showed lower levels of internalizing symptoms after socially transitioning versus before, suggesting a possible mental-health benefit of these transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical Psychological Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology

Keywords

  • childhood development
  • gender bias
  • sex-role attitudes

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