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Keywords:

  • Gender Reassignment Therapy;
  • Psychopathology;
  • Gender Identity Disorder;
  • Gender Dysphoria

Abstract

Introduction

At the start of gender reassignment therapy, persons with a gender identity disorder (GID) may deal with various forms of psychopathology. Until now, a limited number of publications focus on the effect of the different phases of treatment on this comorbidity and other psychosocial factors.

Aims

The aim of this study was to investigate how gender reassignment therapy affects psychopathology and other psychosocial factors.

Methods

This is a prospective study that assessed 57 individuals with GID by using the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90) at three different points of time: at presentation, after the start of hormonal treatment, and after sex reassignment surgery (SRS). Questionnaires on psychosocial variables were used to evaluate the evolution between the presentation and the postoperative period. The data were statistically analyzed by using SPSS 19.0, with significance levels set at P < 0.05.

Main Outcome Measures

The psychopathological parameters include overall psychoneurotic distress, anxiety, agoraphobia, depression, somatization, paranoid ideation/psychoticism, interpersonal sensitivity, hostility, and sleeping problems. The psychosocial parameters consist of relationship, living situation, employment, sexual contacts, social contacts, substance abuse, and suicide attempt.

Results

A difference in SCL-90 overall psychoneurotic distress was observed at the different points of assessments (P = 0.003), with the most prominent decrease occurring after the initiation of hormone therapy (P < 0.001). Significant decreases were found in the subscales such as anxiety, depression, interpersonal sensitivity, and hostility. Furthermore, the SCL-90 scores resembled those of a general population after hormone therapy was initiated. Analysis of the psychosocial variables showed no significant differences between pre- and postoperative assessments.

Conclusions

A marked reduction in psychopathology occurs during the process of sex reassignment therapy, especially after the initiation of hormone therapy. Heylens G, Verroken C, De Cock S, T'Sjoen G, and De Cuypere G. Reassignment therapy on psychopathology: A prospective study of persons with a gender identity disorder. J Sex Med 2014;11:119–126.