Epidemiological studies suggest that more youth are identifying as gender expansive (e.g., transgender, gender nonconforming) than ever before. However, due to stressors like discrimination, gender minorities remain at significantly higher risk for mental and physical health problems than their cisgender peers. While initial research has shown that parental support of youth’s minority gender identities may be protective, further research is needed regarding specific parenting practices and their impact on children. We propose that parental conditional regard — the selective provision of warmth and esteem when children’s behavior conforms to parental standards or values — may be a critical component of parenting behaviors that predicts maladaptation in gender expansive children. Across three studies involving parents of cisgender and gender expansive children ages 3-15 (Study 1: N = 601, community sample; Study 2: N = 793, parents of gender expansive and cisgender children; Study 3, same sample as in Study 1), we describe the development of a novel measure of parental conditional regard for gender expression and test its validity and reliability. Finally, we demonstrate that conditional regard for gender expression is distinct from existing conditional regard measures, and is uniquely associated with children’s psychopathology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Conditional regard