Yet another study shows gender-affirming care improves the mental health of trans teens

A person is in a gathering amid a crowd in a protest holding a sign that reads 'Protect trans kids'

A new US-based study, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, has shown how gender affirming care improves the mental health of trans teens.

The newly published research evaluated 315 transgender youths between 12 to 20 years old, with the average participant being 16. The study followed the young trans people for two years while they were treated with life-changing hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy is the process of giving those experiencing gender dysphoria hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone.

In the new research published this week, it was found that participants reported an increase in positive emotions, life satisfaction and improved self-confidence.

The new research also highlighted participants reporting less anxiety and a decrease in depression felt.

The new research found trans and non-binary people experience high rates of suicidal idealisation, highlighting the need for access to gender-affirming care.

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The findings – like many research papers before it – supported the use of hormone therapy as an effective treatment for trans and non-binary young people.

Findings from previous studies

A study published by The Lancet found the majority of adolescent patients diagnosed with gender dysphoria stick with gender-affirming treatments as they get older.

The study, conducted by the gender identity clinic of the Amsterdam UMC hospital in the Netherlands, conducted the research with a group of 720 adolescent people who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria and prescribed puberty blockers. 

It found a total of 98 per cent (704) of those who started gender-affirming medical treatment in adolescence continued to use gender-affirming hormones. 

Another study published by researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, Illinois, in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday (26 September), looked at the quality of life and levels of dysphoria among young trans people following top surgery.

Unsurprisingly, they found that “gender-affirming top surgery is associated with improved chest dysphoria, gender congruence, and body image in this age group”.

The latest study, which was published this week, did not examine factors such as a trans young person’s parental support.

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