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Teen Transgender Access to Pubertal Suppression Lowers Suicidality

Findings based on large survey of transgender young adults

THURSDAY, Jan. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Access to pubertal suppression during adolescence is associated with lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation among transgender young adults, according to a study published online Jan. 23 in Pediatrics.

Jack L. Turban, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues surveyed 20,619 transgender adults (aged 18 to 36 years) to assess self-reported history of pubertal suppression during adolescence. Associations between access to pubertal suppression and adult mental health outcomes, including multiple measures of suicidality, were evaluated.

The researchers found that 16.9 percent of respondents reported that they ever wanted pubertal suppression as part of their gender-related care. Of the 45.2 percent of participants assigned male sex, 2.5 percent received pubertal suppression. Those who received treatment with pubertal suppression had lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation compared with those who wanted pubertal suppression but did not receive it (adjusted odds ratio, 0.3), when adjusting for demographic variables and level of family support for gender identity.

“These results align with past literature, suggesting that pubertal suppression for transgender adolescents who want this treatment is associated with favorable mental health outcomes,” the authors write.

Turban disclosed receiving royalties from Springer for a textbook on pediatric gender identity.

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