New Study Supports Social Contagion Theory Of Gender Dysphoria Among Teen Girls

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A new study suggests that gender dysphoria among teen girls could be the result of environmental conditions.

The study, titled “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria: Parent Reports on 1655 Possible Cases,” studied children whose reported gender dysphoria occurred between the ages of 11 and 21. “Participants were parents or other caretakers of gender dysphoric children who contacted the website,” a website that “provides information and support to parents who believe their children may have ROGD and who are skeptical about ‘affirmative’ therapeutic approaches,” the study notes.

The children included in the study were 75 percent female, with boys reporting dysphoria nearly two years later than girls. Young males were also less likely to take steps towards social transitioning than their female counterparts.

Parents who contributed to the study claimed that clinicians pressured them to affirm their children’s transitions, and reported that their children’s mental health issues — including gender dysphoria, anxiety, and depression — all worsened after transition. (RELATED: Bill Maher Says ‘There’s An Element Of Social Contagion’ Impacting Children Who Identify As Transgender)

Among girls featured in the study, 60.9 percent reported having another friend coming out as transgender “around the same time.” Having friends come out as transgender was heavily correlated with the decision of girls to socially transition. According to the study, 77.3 percent of females with transgender friends “had taken steps toward social transition, compared with 54 percent without such friends; for males, respective figures were 39.5% and 21.7%.”

The study claims that 42.5 percent of adolescents observed already had a mental health disorder, and these disorders began about four years before the dysphoria. Young girls heavily reported strong feelings of anxiety and self-harm as their first symptoms of gender dysphoria. According to the study, young people with a history of mental disorders are more likely to transition.

“The finding is concerning because youth with mental health issues may be especially likely to lack judgment necessary to make these important, and in the case of medical transition permanent, decisions,” the study claims.