Gender Dysphoria in looked-after and adopted young people in a gender identity development service

Matthews, Tom, Holt, Victoria, Taylor, Amelia, Griksaitis, David and Sahin, Senem (2019) Gender Dysphoria in looked-after and adopted young people in a gender identity development service. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 24 (1). pp. 112-128. ISSN 1359-1045 (Print); 1461-7021 (Electronic)

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This research investigated the prevalence of looked-after and adopted young people within a case file review of 185 young people referred to a UK gender identity development service over a 2-year period (1 April 2009 to 1 April 2011). Data were extracted from referral letters, clinical notes and clinician letters. Looked-after young people were found to represent 4.9% of referrals in this cohort, which is significantly higher than within the English general population (0.58%). Adopted young people represented 3.8% of referrals. In addition, the findings showed that looked-after young people were less likely to receive a diagnosis of gender dysphoria compared with young people living within their birth family. There were no statistically significant differences in the gender ratio or age of first gender dysphoric experience between groups. Looked-after and adopted young people were also not found to be experiencing greater impairment in overall functioning compared to other young people referred to the gender identity development service. In conclusion, there are a substantial proportion of referrals pertaining to looked-after or adopted young people, and it appears the referral route and process through the service may be distinct, particularly for looked-after young people. This may be understood by considering the possible complexities in the presentation of these groups, alongside the established higher levels of complexity generally for those experiencing feelings of gender dysphoria.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article first published online: August 11, 2018
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender Dysphoria, Gender Identity, Gender Identity Development, Looked-After, Adopted
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Adoption & Fostering- Psychology
Sex Psychology > Gender Identity
Department/People: Special Units

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