The effect of cross-sex hormonal treatment on gender dysphoria individuals' mental health: A systematic review

Costa, Rosalia and Colizzi, Marco (2016) The effect of cross-sex hormonal treatment on gender dysphoria individuals' mental health: A systematic review. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12 . pp. 1953-1966. ISSN 1176-6328 Full text available

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Abstract/Book Review

Cross-sex hormonal treatment represents a main aspect of gender dysphoria health care pathway. However, it is still debated whether this intervention translates into a better mental well-being for the individual and which mechanisms may underlie this association. Although sex reassignment surgery has been the subject of extensive investigation, few studies have specifically focused on hormonal treatment in recent years. Here, we systematically review all studies examining the effect of cross-sex hormonal treatment on mental health and well-being in gender dysphoria. Research tends to support the evidence that hormone therapy reduces symptoms of anxiety and dissociation, lowering perceived and social distress and improving quality of life and self-esteem in both male-to-female and female-to-male individuals. Instead, compared to female-to-male individuals, hormone-treated male-to-female individuals seem to benefit more in terms of a reduction in their body uneasiness and personality-related psychopathology and an amelioration of their emotional functioning. Less consistent findings support an association between hormonal treatment and other mental health-related dimensions. In particular, depression, global psychopathology, and psychosocial functioning difficulties appear to reduce only in some studies, while others do not suggest any improvement in these domains. Results from longitudinal studies support more consistently the association between hormonal treatment and improved mental health. On the contrary, a number of cross-sectional studies do not support this evidence. This review provides possible biological explanation vs psychological explanation (direct effect vs indirect effect) for the hormonal treatment-induced better mental well-being. In conclusion, this review indicates that gender dysphoria-related mental distress may benefit from hormonal treatment intervention, suggesting a transient reaction to the nonsatisfaction connected to the incongruent body image rather than a stable psychiatric comorbidity. In this perspective, timely hormonal treatment intervention represents a crucial issue in gender dysphoria individuals' mental health-related outcome.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Estrogen, Psychiatry, Psychosocial Wellbeing, Testosterone, Transsexualism
Subjects: Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychiatry
Sex Psychology > Transsexualism
Sex Psychology > Gender Identity
Department/People: Special Units
Depositing User: Ms Jocelyn Wade
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2016 14:16
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 11:24
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1368

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