Health

Psychiatric Journal Corrects Transgender Study, Now Says There’s ‘No Advantage Of Surgery’ For Mental Health

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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A leading psychiatric journal issued a correction last week saying a study which purportedly showed positive mental health effects after gender reassignment surgeries actually found “no advantage of surgery.”

The American Journal of Psychiatry published an October 2019 study titled “Reduction in Mental Health Treatment Utilization Among Transgender Individuals After Gender-Affirming Surgeries: A Total Population Study,” which examined the effects of gender reassignment surgeries on the mental health of individuals who believe they are transgender.

The study used data from Sweden and was conducted by Dr. Richard Branstrom and Dr. John E. Pachankis, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The American Journal of Psychiatry initially touted the study as lending “support to the decision to provide gender-affirming surgeries to those who seek them” in an October 4 tweet. (RELATED: ‘It Destroyed My Body’: Here’s Why This Former Trans Woman Regrets His Gender Transition)

The study itself is under the journal’s paywall, but the “conclusions” section of the study is accessible to the public. The conclusion said that “the longitudinal association between gender-affirming surgery and reduced likelihood of mental health treatment lends support to the decision to provide gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek them.”

That conclusion is “too strong,” according to the journal’s early-August correction, which the journal provided to the DCNF. (RELATED: Former Transgender Girl Recounts How She Was ‘Brainwashed’ By The Online Trans Community)

The correction said that the authors of the study were contacted with letters questioning the study’s methodology, prompting them to re-examine their data.

“Upon request, the authors reanalyzed the data to compare outcomes between individuals diagnosed with gender incongruence who had received gender-affirming surgical treatments and those diagnosed with gender incongruence who had not,” the correction said.

“While this comparison was performed retrospectively and was not part of the original research question given that several other factors may differ between the groups,” the correction said, “the results demonstrated no advantage of surgery in relation to subsequent mood or anxiety disorder-related health care visits or prescriptions or hospitalizations following suicide attempts in that comparison.”

Twitter users called attention to the fact that the study’s abstract with “strong” conclusion is not under a paywall, though the correction itself is.

“The original abstract remains public yet the letters of dissent and the correction is paywalled,” tweeted one user. “That is not fair. People need access to the arguements [sic].”

“Astounding and unethical to put the correction behind a paywall, APA,” another user tweeted.

The APA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF as to why the correction is under a paywall, and whether the APA will update its conclusion for the study.

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