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Gender-Affirming Hormones Tied to Improved Psychosocial Functioning in Teens

Improvement seen in appearance congruence and psychosocial functioning in transgender and nonbinary youth in the two years following initiation

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Use of gender-affirming hormones (GAH) improves appearance congruence and psychosocial functioning among transgender and nonbinary youth, according to a study published in the Jan. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Diane Chen, Ph.D., from the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and colleagues assessed the longitudinal course of psychosocial functioning during the two years after GAH initiation among 315 U.S. transgender and nonbinary youth (ages 12 to 20 years).

The researchers found that during the two years of follow-up, appearance congruence, positive affect, and life satisfaction increased, while depression and anxiety symptoms decreased. There were concurrent associations observed between increases in appearance congruence and increases in positive affect and life satisfaction, as well as decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms. Suicidal ideation (11 participants; 3.5 percent) was the most common adverse event, while two participants died by suicide.

“We are now following this cohort to see whether gains in functioning are sustained over a longer follow-up period, and — given substantial variability in outcomes even after controlling for a number of factors — we hope to discover additional predictors of change to identify youth for whom GAH alone is not adequate to address mental health challenges,” the authors write.

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