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Early Findings From the TransYouth Project: Gender Development in Transgender Children

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Early Findings From the TransYouth Project: Gender Development in Transgender Children

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Abstract

Despite a dramatic increase in the number of socially transitioned transgender children (children who identify with the gender opposite their natal sex and who change their appearance and pronouns to align with that gender identity), few studies have examined transgender children's gender development. Findings from the TransYouth Project, the first large, longitudinal study of socially transitioned transgender children, suggest that the gender development of socially transitioned children looks similar to the gender development of their gender-typical, gender-matched peers and gender-typical siblings. In this article, we review findings from the few studies that have addressed this topic, connect these studies to past research, and discuss ways to foster deeper understanding of gender development among transgender children.

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... A sex/gender mosaic seems to bypass the existence of trans 1 children who identify as gendered opposite to their natal sex as early as age two (Zucker et al., 1997), or age three (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018;Hewitt et al., 2012). It also disregards children who persist post-puberty whose reproductive behavior is not always conventional and late-onset dysphoric individuals with a gender opposite to their bodily sex. ...
... What is most relevant to our hypothesis is not what causes sex and gender diversity, but specifically, what and where is it trans people of all ages feel is inconsistent with their biological sex? What is it many children identify as their gender as early as age two (Zucker, Bradley, & Sanikhani, 1997), or age three (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018;Hewitt et al., 2012)? If there is no internal biological locus for gender identity, what is it very young and persisting adult trans individuals feel inconsistent with their bodily sex? ...
... If we separate general behavior from cognitive behavior relevant to reproduction and maintain the RA, specifically the limbic system, as the center of gender identity relative to reproduction, then pubescent children who consistently, persistently, and insistently (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018) maintain a gender opposite to that assigned at birth, and whose later reproductive behavior is not always conventional for their sex, arguably make the notion of gender as a singular social category of sex/gender insufficient. ...
Preprint
The origins of bodily sex are well understood but consensus on origins for gender are missing. While gonadal sex and sexual orientation are accepted as emanating from genetic and hormonal templates, gender’s existence, when it is acknowledged, currently has so far emanated from either social origins or a nebulous ‘somewhere’ in the brain. Although the characteristics of sex-related behavior relative to the physicality of reproduction are clearly dimorphic, other cognitive behaviors relative to reproduction have not been explicitly identified and presented. This article synthesizes important research to present a biological location of gender as opposed to sex. These cognitive behaviors can be differentially linked with reproduction throughout the lifespan. A physiological location for gender in the human phenotype may help advance this research further.
... Because the available literature has focused on gender-related stereotyping in exclusively or majority cisgender samples, we use these groups as anchors for comparisons. Based on the extant literature (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018), we acknowledge that there are several possible outcomes of this exploratory research: (1) transgender and gender expansive adults might endorse less gender-related stereotyping than cisgender adults, (2) transgender and gender expansive adults might endorse more gender-related stereotyping than cisgender adults, or (3) transgender and gender expansive adults might differ from cisgender individuals, as well as from each other, in their endorsement of gender-related stereotyping. We also expect that there may be different patterns of responding for different dependent variables (i.e., hostile vs. benevolent attitudes). ...
... Taken together, it may be that the experience or socialization toward a masculine gender role (either formerly, for gender expansive MAB, or presently, for transgender men and cisgender men) influences one's expectation of men as a provider and protector. Considerable overlap between transgender and cisgender men on this subfactor supports the theory that transgender behaviors and attitudes sometimes mirror those of individuals sharing their gender rather than sex (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018). ...
... As such, we can only speculate on the degree to which our results may or may not align with stereotypes associated with sex designated at birth and subsequent rearing. Turning to the limited research with transgender children, findings suggest that children who have socially transitioned exhibit a similar degree of implicit gender identification to cisgender children (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018;Olson et al., 2015), but lower explicit gender stereotype endorsement (Olson & Enright, 2018). Transgender children also show gender-typed toy, clothing, and playmate preferences, equal in strength and rigidity to those of gendermatched cisgender children (Fast & Olson, 2017;Olson et al., 2015). ...
Article
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Little is known about gender-related stereotyping among transgender and gender expansive adults. Using the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (AIS; Glick & Fiske, 1996), we examined explicit gender attitudes in 3298 cisgender, transgender, and gender expansive respondents designated female at birth (FAB; n = 1976 cisgender, n = 108 transgender, n = 188 gender expansive) and male at birth (MAB; n = 922 cisgender, n = 52 transgender, n = 52 gender expansive). In order to learn more about implicit gender-related stereotyping, a subset of 822 participants (FAB; n = 445 cisgender, n = 32 transgender, n = 51 gender expansive. MAB; n = 254 cisgender, n = 21 transgender, n = 19 gender expansive) completed the gender-leadership Implicit Association Test (IAT; Dasgupta & Asgari, 2004). Cisgender men scored significantly higher than all other groups on hostile sexism, but patterns of endorsement for benevolent sexism and implicit attitudes were more nuanced, with cisgender women and gender expansive FAB often scoring significantly below other groups. We observed that transgender men and transgender women, along with cisgender men and gender expansive MAB, moderately endorsed essentialist views regarding differences between men and women (i.e., complementary gender differentiation). These data reveal novel patterns of gender-related stereotyping, with some corresponding to sex designated at birth and others corresponding to current gender identification. Together, these findings suggest that one’s experienced gender, designated sex at birth, and the intersection between them may relate to gender stereotyping, underscoring the importance of including transgender and gender expansive individuals in this research.
... The processes by which young transgender women (YTW; ages 16-29 years) develop and express a transfeminine identity remain largely uncharacterized 1,2 Such knowledge is critical, given that increasing numbers of YTW present for gender-affirmative care, 3 and an overwhelming majority report disproportionate rates of mental health problems (e.g., suicidal behavior) [4][5][6] and sexually transmitted infections (STIs; e.g., HIV) within this age group. [7][8][9][10] It is important to understand how YTW, early in life, navigate complex personal and social milestones to provide af-study using a transsexual identity formation model 12 posited 14 stages that center on the process of external validation of gender through witnessing and mirroring others. ...
... Across studies, developmental models face common limitations 16 ; the majority, for example, (1) were adapted from gay/lesbian identity developmental paradigms, (2) conflate sexual orientation and transfeminine identity through frameworks of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identity development, (3) draw from relatively small samples, (4) tend not to have data specific to YTW, (5) and do not consider the impact of demographic differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, age cohort) in their analysis. This study aimed to address these limitations by mapping age estimates of developmental milestones for YTW by race/ethnicity and cohort age in a racially/ethnically diverse community sample. ...
Article
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To understand developmental milestones among young transgender women (YTW), we mapped age estimates per milestone by race/ethnicity and cohort age using baseline data from Project Lifeskills (n=298). Compared with older and white participants, younger black, Latina, Asian, and other/mixed race transgender (trans) women reported earlier experiences of sexual debut, transfeminine identity disclosure to others, sexual debut as trans, transfeminine identity expression in public, and integration of hormone use. Findings call for increased research and utilization of gender-affirmative interventions among YTW, with incorporation of nuanced, intersecting roles of race/ethnicity and cohort age across milestones.
... Although transgender children have been increasingly visible in mainstream U.S. media in recent years [17][18][19], little empirical research has documented the development of their gender concepts. The few studies that have examined socially-transitioned transgender children's gender development have demonstrated similarities to their same-gender peers (e.g., in gender identities and preferences; [20][21][22]). However, given that transgender children's early experiences with gender differ from those of cisgender children, differences in their gender concepts might also be expected. ...
... Although most findings to date on socially-transitioned transgender children's gender development have shown similarities to same-gender cisgender peers [20][21][22], a few key differences have also been found in transgender children's beliefs about gender. For example, when reasoning about others' gender identities, 3-to 5-year-old transgender participants and their siblings were more likely than cisgender controls to report that gender identities could change [20]. ...
Article
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Children, across cultures, show an early-emerging tendency to essentialize gender, viewing gender as inborn and predictive of stereotypical preferences. However, research has been limited to children whose own gender experience is largely consistent with the assumptions of gender essentialism. In contrast, transgender children have gender identities (and related stereotypical preferences) that differ from their sex assigned at birth, which therefore appear to challenge an essentialist view of gender. In the current study, we examined the degree to which transgender children (N = 97, 3–11 years) view a child’s sex at birth as predictive of their later gender-typed preferences. Additionally, we recruited two comparison groups: cisgender siblings of transgender participants (N = 59) and cisgender, age- and gender-matched controls (N = 90). In an adapted switched-at-birth paradigm, participants in all groups believed that a child’s sex at birth would predict their later gender-typed preferences; participants were especially likely to think so when the target character was reared in a socialization environment that aligned with the target’s own gender, rather than one where the socialization environment aligned with a different gender. Whereas cisgender participants showed a decline in essentialism with age, transgender children did not show any age-related changes in their beliefs. The current findings are the first to show that transgender and cisgender children, despite differences in gender experiences, might similarly essentialize gender. However, these findings also raise questions about how different participant groups might interpret measures differently.
... They also see gender as unstable, meaning it can change across time. At about seven years of age children achieve an understanding of gender as consistent and stable (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018). ...
... Specifically, Olson and colleagues compared transgender children to gender conforming (typical) siblings, and a control group of gender conforming (typical) children of the same age. Transgender children were similar to their siblings and to the control group in seeing themselves as like other children with the same gender identity (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018). In an implicit association test, transgender children, like their siblings and a control group, matched images of children who share their gender identity with positive images such as ice cream faster than negative images such as a snake (Olson, Key, & Eaton, 2015). ...
Book
Full-text available
Cambridge Core - Social Psychology - Undoing the Gender Binary - by Charlotte Chucky Tate
... Following the longestablished scientific principle that to understand the 'usual' one must understand the 'unusual,' we may ask what and where is it transgender people of all ages feel is inconsistent with their biological sex? What is it many children identify as their gender as early as age two (Zucker et al., 1997), or age three (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018;Hewitt et al., 2012). ...
... If we separate general behaviour from cognitive behaviour relevant to reproduction and maintain the reproductive axis and specifically the limbic system as the centre of gender identity relative to reproduction, then pubescent children who consistently, persistently, and insistently (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018) maintain a gender opposite to that assigned at birth, and whose later reproductive behaviour is not always conventional for their sex, arguably makes the notion of a social gender as purely social and a single category of sex/gender dubious. ...
Preprint
Research to date has left unexplained what may seem indefinable – gender identity. This article synthesizes important research that has not previously presented a case for a biological location of gender in the human phenotype. While gonadal sex and sexual orientation are accepted as emanating from genetic and hormonal templates, gender’s existence currently has so far emanated from a nebulous ‘somewhere’ in the brain. Recent hypotheses have argued there is no natural dichotomy of gendered behavior and proposed a merging of otherwise distinct categories for sex and gender into a mosaic of sex/gender. However, this seems to detour around non-physical behavior relevant to reproduction. This paper makes an original case for non-physical behaviors relevant to reproduction as the neurophysiological sense of gender and specifically centred within the reproductive axis. This fits in well with current understandings of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences on identity diversity.
... Some children will display signs of gender diversity in early childhood, although this is not true for all persons who later identify as transgender. Studies of children's develop ment have identified some biological (Berenbaum & Beltz, 2011), cognitive (Olson & Selin, 2018), and social (Steensma, McGuire, Kreukels, Beekman, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2013) Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 10 July 2020 standing of gender as an individual trait with some essential stability over time in ways that are distinct from peers (Olson & Selin, 2018). In longitudinal studies, children who eventually sought puberty suppression were, at initial childhood assessment, more likely to make statements asserting that they "were" a gender other than their assigned sex rather than they "wished to be" a gender other than their assigned sex (Steensma et al., 2013). ...
... Some children will display signs of gender diversity in early childhood, although this is not true for all persons who later identify as transgender. Studies of children's develop ment have identified some biological (Berenbaum & Beltz, 2011), cognitive (Olson & Selin, 2018), and social (Steensma, McGuire, Kreukels, Beekman, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2013) Subscriber: OUP-Reference Gratis Access; date: 10 July 2020 standing of gender as an individual trait with some essential stability over time in ways that are distinct from peers (Olson & Selin, 2018). In longitudinal studies, children who eventually sought puberty suppression were, at initial childhood assessment, more likely to make statements asserting that they "were" a gender other than their assigned sex rather than they "wished to be" a gender other than their assigned sex (Steensma et al., 2013). ...
Chapter
Sexual and gender minority (SGM) young people are coming of age at a time of dynamic social and political changes with regard to LGBTQ rights and visibility around the world. And yet, contemporary cohorts of SGM youth continue to evidence the same degree of compromised mental health demonstrated by SGM youth of past decades. The authors review the current research on SGM youth mental health, with careful attention to the developmental and contextual characteristics that complicate, support, and thwart mental health for SGM young people. Given a large and rapidly growing body of science in this area, the authors strategically review research that reflects the prevalence of these issues in countries around the world but also concentrate on how mental health concerns among SGM children and youth are shaped by experiences with schools, families, and communities. Promising mental health treatment strategies for this population are reviewed. The chapter ends with a focus on understudied areas in the SGM youth mental health literature, which may offer promising solutions to combat SGM population health disparities and promote mental health among SGM young people during adolescence and as they age across the life course.
... Gender identity relates to appearance, behavior, and cognition; for example, transgender men are, in this respect, more male typical than most cisgender women, starting in childhood (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018;Olson et al., 2015;Singh et al., 2010;Zucker et al., 2012). Transgender men could therefore be more male typical than cisgender women in other ways, including their physiological sexual-arousal patterns. ...
Article
Full-text available
Most men show genital sexual arousal to one preferred gender. Most women show genital arousal to both genders, regardless of their sexual preferences. There is limited knowledge of whether this difference is driven by biological sex or gender identity. Transgender individuals, whose birth sex and gender identity are incongruent, provide a unique opportunity to address this question. We tested whether the genital responses of 25 (female-to-male) transgender men followed their female birth sex or male gender identity. Depending on their surgical status, arousal was assessed with penile gauges or vaginal plethysmographs. Transgender men’s sexual arousal showed both male-typical and female-typical patterns. Across measures, they responded more strongly to their preferred gender than to the other gender, similar to (but not entirely like) 145 cisgender (nontransgender) men. However, they still responded to both genders, similar to 178 cisgender women. In birth-assigned women, both gender identity and biological sex may influence sexual-arousal patterns.
... In addition, transgender targets were described as going through a social transition-changing their name, pronouns and appearance--and becoming a lot happier. These vignettes were based loosely on the findings of research on socially-transitioned transgender children (e.g., Fast & Olson, in press;Olson & Gülgöz, 2017;Olson et al., 2015). For cisgender targets, the vignettes ended with the description of the child wanting to keep their name, pronoun and appearance the same because the child was happy with them. ...
Article
Despite extant evidence of negative peer treatment of transgender adolescents and adults, little is known about how young children perceive transgender peers, particularly those who have socially-transitioned, or are living in line with their gender, rather than sex at birth. Whereas children have been shown to be averse to gender nonconformity in peers, because many transgender children appear and behave in ways consistent with their expressed gender (but not their sex at birth), it is unclear how children evaluate these identities. In two studies, we investigated 5- to 10-year-old children's (N total =113) preferences for transgender vs. gender-"typical" peers who either shared their gender identity or did not. We also examined whether children categorize transgender peers by their sex or expressed gender, as this might inform their evaluations. Children preferred cisgender peers over transgender peers; however, they also liked peers of their own gender rather than the other gender (e.g., female participants preferred girls over boys), demonstrating that the oft-documented own-gender bias plays an important role even when children are reasoning about transgender peers. Children did not reliably categorize transgender peers by sex or gender; yet, those who categorized transgender peers by their sex showed greater dislike of transgender peers. The current studies are the first to investigate cisgender children's attitudes toward transgender children, and suggest that perceptions of gender categorization and conformity play a role in children's evaluations of transgender peers.
... Transgender youth's sibling relationships have received limited attention in research. Siblings of transgender youth are in general more accepting of gender nonconformity than children without a transgender sibling (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018); however, research has not yet investigated how accepting they are specifically toward their own transgender sibling, or how sibling acceptance influences transgender youth mental health. In ...
... Even the recent data emerging from the Trans Youth project, while important and meaningful, has not investigated whether a 3-year-old child's statements of gender identity are valid measures of actual gender identity. Olson and Gülgöz (2017) report that children as young as 3 are typically aware of their gender identity and retrospective reports suggest this holds for children who later transition to an affirmed gender different from their sex assigned at birth. This finding is based on children's self-report of gender identity. ...
Article
Abstract The goals of the present article are to summarize the current state of assessment measures pertaining to the evaluation of gender in young children, identify gaps in knowledge, and propose priorities for research regarding gender identity development as concepts of gender evolve over time. We provide an overview of assessment tools that have been used to measure gender-related constructs in young children and highlight areas in which more nuanced concepts of gender have driven the creation of new approaches to assessment. We identify a number of overarching assessment limitations as well, with recommendations for research priorities: (a) developing and validating measures of gender identity in young children, (b) examining gender development in typical and gender diverse young children, (c) incorporating a nonbinary model of gender into assessment, (d) examining family and broader ecological variables as they impact gender development, and (e) studying factors that influence parental beliefs about their young child’s gender. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
... Instead, there is evidence for the existence of non-binary and trans people throughout history and across a range of cultures (Herdt, 1993). In addition, recent research indicates that the gender identity of trans children develops early and that gender development is remarkably similar to that of cisgender children, for example in terms of consistency of gender identity (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018). Trans girls exhibit almost identical patterns of gender development to cis girls -and very different patterns from cis boys (i.e., the sex they were assigned at birth); while trans boys' development is almost identical to that of cis boys and different from that of cis girls, for example in terms of gender-typical preferences. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the Western world, gender has traditionally been viewed in the Western world as binary and as following directly from biological sex. This view is slowly changing among both experts and the general public, a change that has been met with strong opposition. In this article, we explore the psychological processes underlying these dynamics. Drawing on previous work on gender performativity as well as gender as a performance, we develop a psychological framework of the perpetuation and disruption of the gender/sex binary on a stage that facilitates and foregrounds binary gender/sex performance. Whenever character, costume, and script are not aligned the gender/sex binary is disrupted and gender trouble ensues. We integrate various strands of the psychological literature into this framework and explain the processes underlying these reactions. We propose that gender trouble can elicit threat—personal threat, group-based and identity threat, and system threat—which in turn leads to efforts to alleviate this threat through the reinforcement of the gender/sex binary. Our framework challenges the way psychologists have traditionally treated gender/sex in theory and empirical work and proposes new avenues and implications for future research.
... A majority of older literature on trans children was pathologising and cisnormative 1 (Ansara and Hegarty, 2012). There has been a recent growth in trans positive research on trans children, looking at the identities of young trans children (Olson et al., 2015;Olson, 2016;Fast and Olson, 2018;Olson and Enright, 2018;Olson and Gülgöz, 2018;Rae et al., 2019;Pullen Sansfaçon et al., 2020), reflecting on social transition (Turban, 2017;Whyatt-Sames, 2017;Turban and Keuroghlian, 2018;Ashley, 2019a,c), and trans children's experiences in education (Bartholomaeus and Riggs, 2017a). ...
Article
Full-text available
As more trans children find the confidence to make themselves known in our primary and secondary schools, school teachers and administrators look for guidance on how to best support trans pupils. This article synthesises findings from global literature on trans children in primary and secondary education (K1–12 in the US), extracting key themes and conclusions. It then examines the most recent UK school guidance documents on trans inclusion, assessing which lessons and recommendations from global literature are represented. The article highlights existing good practices in visibility and representation and in protection from violence and harassment. Several areas where additional effort is needed are identified, including action on environmental stress and cisnormativity, addressing barriers to school trans-inclusivity and institutional accountability. A number of important shifts are called for: from adaptation on request to pre-emptive change; from accommodation to a rights-based approach; from pathologisation to trans-positivity. Finally, the article raises expectations on what it means to be an ally for trans children in education.
... However, most previous research has reflected on cisgender male and female characters. Gender diversity and visibility in children's media is becoming increasingly relevant as more and more children are identifying in gender-diverse ways (e.g., transgender, nonbinary) (Brooks, 2017;Olson & Gülgöz, 2018). Until recently, children's television did not represent characters that reflect the identities and experiences of these gender-diverse children. ...
Article
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Television is a strong educational and socializing agent for children. Watching television can teach children appropriate language and vocabulary to use, as well as the social norms about gender behaviors or activities. Previous research on gender representations in children’s television has been limited to studying male and female characters because children’s programming has historically presented audiences with cisgender characters (e.g., boy and girls). Recently, television shows aimed at children have provided audiences with nonbinary and gender-diverse characters. This study is the first exploratory content analysis, to my knowledge, to examine the portrayal and representation of nonbinary and gender-diverse characters in children’s television. The current study examined the gender-neutral pronoun and gendered language use toward nonbinary and gender-diverse characters, as well as the portrayal of these characters as leaders, and with special skills in Adventure Time and Steven Universe. Overall, nonbinary and gender-diverse characters were portrayed as strong, positive, characters, and were represented similarly to their cisgender counterparts. This represents a promising shift toward more inclusive and equitable television representation, which may lead to the acceptance and appropriate use of gender-neutral pronouns toward peers by cisgender children, and the feeling of visibility and validation by nonbinary children. Future research should examine the impacts of these characters on viewers. RELEVANCE STATEMENT: As children’s television becomes more diverse it has the potential to positively impact the lives of cisgender (e.g., boys and girls) and nonbinary children. Because television has the potential to influence young children, gender-diverse representations in children’s television may lead to children developing more accepting attitudes and behaviors toward nonbinary peers.
... Research into prosocial behavior and gender consistently demonstrates behavior and emotion between genders become salient after preschool, when children enter adolescence, and largely continue into young adulthood (Van der Graaf et al., 2018). For transgender children and adolescents, the extant data indicates that transgender youth gender norm expression matches what is typical of the gender with which they identify, but transgender youth may have fewer firm beliefs about gender constancy across the lifespan (Olson, & Gülgöz, 2018). Thus, gender identity and associated norms will provide socially enforced pressure towards the adoption of a gendered style of prosocial behavior and attitudes. ...
Thesis
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In this study, a recalled experience of having warm and responsive parents, degree of endorsement of a generalized just world belief, and reported adolescent experiences of injustice were tested in a structural equation model for fit with predicting compassion in a sample of 201 self-identified counseling students. The participants were invited by advertisements on social media and emails to counseling programs and a counselor education listserv. All variables were measured via survey. Structural equation model results found an acceptable fitting model, χ² (113) = 317.77, p < 0.001, RMSEA = 0.095; CFI = 0.91; PNFI = 0.72. In the model, injustice experiences and a generalized just world belief were found to be significant negative predictors of compassion. Recalled parenting was not supported to be a significant predictor. Last, injustice experiences moderated the relationship between the just world belief and compassion. When a high level of injustice experiences was reported, the relationship between compassion and the just world belief was stronger (β = -0.43, t (200) = -6.12, p < 0.05) than when a low level of injustice experiences was reported, (β = -0.20, t (200) = -2.78, p < 0.05).
... 47 Studies suggest that gender-typical as well as transgender children as young as age 3 years can reliably identify their gender. 56 The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, and the US Department of Education's School Climate Survey each conduct measures of gender identity among adolescents and youth. Each of these categorize gender identity similarly, using "man," "woman," "transgender man," "transgender woman," "gender nonconforming," and "other." ...
Article
Given the diversity of sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic position (SEP) in children across the United States, it is incumbent upon pediatric and epidemiologic researchers to conduct their work in ways that promote inclusivity, understanding and reduction in inequities. Current child health research often utilizes an approach of “convenience” in how data related to these constructs are collected, categorized, and included in models; the field needs to be more systematic and thoughtful in its approach to understand how sociodemographics affect child health. We offer suggestions for improving the discourse around sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and SEP in child health research. We explain how analytic models should be driven by a conceptual framework grounding the choices of variables that are included in analyses, without the automatic “adjusting for” all sociodemographic constructs. We propose to leverage newly available data from large multi-cohort consortia as unique opportunities to improve the current standards for analyzing and reporting core sociodemographic constructs. Improving the characterization and interpretation of child health studies with regards to core sociodemographic constructs is critical for optimizing child health and reducing inequities in the health and well-being of all children across the United States. Current child health research often utilizes an approach of “convenience” in how data related to sex, race/ethnicity, and SEP are collected, categorized, and included in models. We offer suggestions for how scholars can improve the discourse around sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and SEP in child health research. We explain how analytic models should be driven by a conceptual framework grounding the choices of variables that are included in analyses. We propose to leverage newly available large cohort consortia of child health studies as opportunities to improve the current standards for analyzing and reporting core sociodemographic constructs.
... This is a gross oversimplification, an oversimplification that Temple Newhook et al. require in order to assimilate their interpretation of the data into their theoretical/ethical argumentation. Disclosure: I think that the work of Olson's research group is excellent, including the studies that have assessed various parameters of gender development (e.g., Dunham & Olson, 2016;Fast & Olson, 2018;Olson & Enright, 2017;Olson & G€ ulg€ oz, 2017;Olson, Key, & Eaton, 2015). However, the Olson et al. (2016) study on mental health measurement has serious methodological flaws, which affect the interpretation of the data (cf. ...
Article
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Temple Newhook et al. (2018) provide a critique of recent follow-up studies of children referred to specialized gender identity clinics, organized around rates of persistence and desistance. The critical gaze of Temple Newhook et al. examined three primary issues: (1) the terms persistence and desistance in their own right; (2) methodology of the follow-up studies and interpretation of the data; and (3) ethical matters. In this response, I interrogate the critique of Temple Newhook et al. (2018).
... Conversations about gender, masculine versus feminine styles of play, gender expansive expression and identity, and deconstruction of the gender binary are important for preservice teacher preparation programs as well as the early childhood setting. Initiatives and resources such as the gender-responsive pedagogy for early childhood education to shed light on the developmental trajectories of transgender preschool children into later childhood (Fast & Olson, 2018;Olson & Gülgöz, 2018). The Human Rights Campaign (HRC, 2020) has compiled resources to support gender-expansive children including resources for educators. ...
Article
This study explored the beliefs of early childhood educators about a child's current behavior and potential adult adjustment based on a description of the child's gender and play interests. There were 451 early childhood educators from a US sample who, after reading a brief vignette describing a child's play and behavior, responded to questions related to the child's current and future behavior. Respondents also provided demographic information as well as ratings of their gender role beliefs. Results indicated that (a) educators believe strongly masculine or feminine play in early childhood predicts similar displays of masculinity or femininity in adulthood, (b) educator ratings of externalizing problem behaviors were significantly higher in the masculine play vignettes, irrespective of the child's gender, (c) ratings of internalizing problem behaviors were higher in the feminine play vignettes, also independent of child's gender, and (d) there were few differences in ratings between gender role conforming and gender role nonconforming children. However, the gender role nonconforming boy was rated as more likely to contemplate suicide as an adult compared to the gender role nonconforming girl and the gender role conforming boy and girl. Educators' beliefs about gender‐related constructs and recommendations for future practice and research were discussed.
... The dual-identity conceptualization has been found to be particularly useful for describing individual differences in the (relative) extent to which children report to feel similar to peers of their own biological gender group and to peers of the opposite binary gender group. While most children feel stronger similarity with peers of their own gender than with peers of the other gender, i.e., report a gendertypical identity (Martin et al., 2017), the dual-identity approach also acknowledges experiences of transgender youth who feel dissimilar to peers of their own biological sex and more similar to peers of the opposite sex (Olson and Gülgöz, 2018). Differences in children's felt (relative) similarity to own and other gender peers have been related to children's social-emotional adjustment, gender-typed behavior, and gender attitudes (Andrews et al., 2016;Martin et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Substantial gender disparities in career advancement are still apparent, for instance in the gender pay gap, the overrepresentation of women in parttime work, and the underrepresentation of women in managerial positions. Regarding the developmental origins of these gender disparities, the current study examined whether children’s views about future career and family involvement were associated with children’s own gender schemas (gender stereotypes, gender identity) and parents’ career- and family-related gender roles. Participants were 142 Dutch families with a child between the ages of 6 and 12 years old (M = 9.80, SD = 1.48, 60% girls). The families had different compositions (1 parent, 2 parents, 1 to 3 children). Children completed a computer task assessing gender stereotypes about toys and questionnaires on gender identity (i.e., felt similarity to same- and other-gender children) and their views about future career and family involvement. Parents reported their occupation, work hours, and task division in the home, which were combined in a composite variable reflecting gender-typicality of career and family involvement. Generalized estimation equations were used to take into account dependency between family members. Results revealed that parents’, and especially mothers’, gender-typical career and family involvement was associated with children’s gender-typical views about future career and family involvement. In addition, children’s felt similarity to the same gender was associated with children’s gender-typical expectations about career and family involvement. These findings suggest that parents’ career, work hours, and task division in the home, together play an important role in how their children envision their future work and family roles. Children themselves also play an active role in developing this vision for the future by their own gender identity, specifically by how similar they feel to individuals of the same gender. To reduce gender disparities in the occupational and domestic domain, programs need to be designed that focus on parental role modeling in the family as well as children’s gender identity development.
... Some such studies are currently underway. In the US, the Trans Youth Project is investigating trajectories of a community sample of socially transitioned children (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018) and another large scale NIH funded study is investigating medical interventions for transgender youth (Olson-Kennedy et al., 2019). Australia (Tollit et al., 2019), and the UK (LOGIC Study, 2020) also have longitudinal studies in progress, recruiting from gender identity development services. ...
Article
Background Children are presenting in greater numbers to gender clinics around the world. Prospective longitudinal research is important to better understand outcomes and trajectories for these children. This systematic review aims to identify, describe and critically evaluate longitudinal studies in the field. Method Five electronic databases were systematically searched from January 2000 to February 2020. Peer-reviewed articles assessing gender identity and psychosocial outcomes for children and young people (<18 years) with gender diverse identification were included. Results Nine articles from seven longitudinal studies were identified. The majority were assessed as being of moderate quality. Four studies were undertaken in the Netherlands, two in North America and one in the UK. The majority of studies had small samples, with only two studies including more than 100 participants and attrition was moderate to high, due to participants lost to follow-up. Outcomes of interest focused predominantly on gender identity over time and emotional and behavioural functioning. Conclusions Larger scale and higher quality longitudinal research on gender identity development in children is needed. Some externally funded longitudinal studies are currently in progress internationally. Findings from these studies will enhance understanding of outcomes over time in relation to gender identity development in children and young people.
... The TransYouth Project, led by developmental psychologist Dr Kristina Olson, examines transgender children's gender development. At the time of writing, it's an ongoing longitudinal study of transgender children from North America (ages 3 to 12 years at the start of the study), though some early findings have been published (for a summary, see Olson & Gülgöz, 2018). These children have socially transitioned (e.g., they are referred to by a pronoun not traditionally used for their natal sex) and thus have significant parental support of their gender identities. ...
... However, the environment has an even greater influence on resilience than individual characteristics (Ungar, 2017). Examples of these environmental factors include the family (Olson & Gülgöz, 2018;Singh, 2013), friendships (Singh, 2013), and affirming schools and neighborhoods . Resilience thus takes shape over time and in relation to other factors. ...
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This article presents the results of a combined grounded theory and community-based participatory action research project with 54 trans and nonbinary youths (TNBY) residing in the province of Quebec, Canada. The project includes two important sensitizing concepts: intersectionality and recognition. In the research, intersectionality was defined as an approach that explores how people navigate manifold identities (class, race, disability, and so on) in the context of structural oppression. Authors applied an intersectional lens to the recruitment of research participants through an iterative, community-based process, and to the analysis of the oppressive structures that negatively influence the well-being of TNBY and the specific factors that enable TNBY to thrive. Drawing on Honneth’s concept of recognition, authors argue for a contextualized, dynamic, and relational understanding of how well-being is produced. Specifically, they show two presenting needs: one for affirmation and one for safety, access to which springs from resources of privilege that emerge in the environment in which young people are embedded and from which they self-advocate. Understanding the dynamic relationship between these two needs and how they shift according to context is an important component of applying an intersectional approach to supporting TNBY in social work settings.
... Furthermore, most research to date has focused on only sexual orientation (or the experiences of LGB youth) or combines LGB with transgender youth. Thus, most studies have not provided specific attention to transgender and gender diverse youth, although there has been growing research attention to transgender and gender diverse youth (Day et al., 2018;Ioverno & Russell, 2021;Olson et al., 2016;Olson & Gülgöz, 2018). Finally, we refer to "school personnel" to include teachers as well as other school personnel, including school administrators, classroom aides, cafeteria workers, or bus drivers. ...
Article
Schools are often unsafe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students; they frequently experience negative or hostile school climates, including bullying and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity at school. Negative school climates and discriminatory experiences can threaten LGBTQ students’ well-being. Simultaneously, a consistent body of research identifies strategies to support LGBTQ and all students to be safe and thrive at school. First, policies that specifically identify or enumerate protected groups such as LGBTQ students create supportive contexts for all youth. Second, professional development prepares educators and other school personnel with tools to support and protect all students. Third, access to information and support related to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE), including curricula that is SOGIE-inclusive, provides students with resources, support, and inclusion, creating school climate. Fourth, the presence of student-led clubs or organizations such as gender-sexuality alliances (i.e., GSAs) improve students’ school experiences and well-being, and contribute to positive school climate. This article reviews the research foundations of each of these strategies and concludes with recommendations for multiple audiences: policymakers, school personnel, parents, and students.
... La cible n'est donc plus l'enfant dont le genre n'est pas conforme aux attentes, mais son environnement qui cause de la pression et de la souffrance (Pyne 2014(Pyne , 2016Keo-Meier et Ehrensaft, 2018;Pullen Sansfaçon, 2015;Medico et Pullen-Sansfaçon, 2017 Les évidences cliniques et empiriques suggèrent que l'identité de genre commence à se former dès l'âge de 2 à 3 ans (Ehrensaft, 2011a), même si le processus d'identification en tant que trans peut prendre plus de temps et demeurer fluide (Pullen Sansfaçon, Medico, Suerich-Gulick et Newhook, 2020b). Selon Olson et Gülgöz, (2018) les jeunes trans affirmé⋅e⋅s dans leur genre identifient ce dernier dès l'âge de trois ans et de manière aussi forte et constante que les jeunes cisgenres. observaient, pour leur part, que les jeunes trans réalisaient la discordance entre leurs genres assigné et authentique autour de 10 ans, et se disaient trans autour de 14 ans. ...
Article
The past decade has witnessed significant change in medical care for trans youth. A well-established pathologizing approach focused on asserting a young person’s assigned gender has been challenged by a growing number of experts who favour a model that supports gender exploration (e.g., by providing access to hormonal treatments and puberty blockers). Based on interviews with 36 parent-youth dyads (72 interviews in total), this article explores the expectations and impacts associated with medical transition. On the one hand, the interview data show that young people and their parents agree that access to trans-affirmative medical care has a positive impact on youth development. Specifically, it is seen to reduce suffering associated with gender dysphoria, while promoting both self-recognition and intersubjectivity. On the other hand, the interview data highlight the extent to which available health care pathways (often based on a binary approach) have failed to keep pace with the expectations and concerns of youth and their parents. Our article therefore emphasizes the importance of offering transaffirmative care adapted to the needs of youth seeking to transition.
... Use of hormones occurred later, started on average at approximately age 18. It is important to note that these ages are reported as averages, and that previous research in other settings have documented some of these milestones such as initial self-awareness to occur as young as 3 years old for some transgender children [24]. Importantly. ...
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Background For transgender people, reaching transgender (trans)-specific developmental milestones, including recognizing and expressing one's identity, plays an integral role in overall health, wellbeing, and the pursuit of gender affirmation. Yet trans people continue to face minority stressors, including structural violence (i.e., discrimination, violence, and stigma), which may interfere with the achievement of these milestones. Among trans women specifically, however, potential associations between gender developmental milestones and structural violence are not well characterized in the literature. In a sample of Filipinx (i.e., an inclusive term for describing non-binary genders in the Philippines) trans women who are sexually active with men (trans-WSM), we thus sought to: (a) describe the mean ages at which gender developmental milestones occur and (b) examine the associations between structural violence and mean ages at which at which Filipinx trans-WSM experience trans-specific developmental milestones.Methods Using data from Project #ParaSaAtin, an online survey of Filipinx trans-WSM (n = 139), we mapped age-estimates per trans-specific milestones and then tested whether structural violence is associated with the mean age at which trans women experience trans-specific developmental milestones.ResultsOverall, participants who reported higher levels of discrimination, stigma, and violence also experienced a later age for nearly each milestone (i.e., initial self-awareness of transfeminine identity, transfeminine expression in private, transfeminine expression in public, first consensual oral/vaginal/anal sex with a cisgender male partner, first consensual oral/vaginal/anal sex with a cisgender male partner as a trans women, and hormone integration) (all p-values
... This point is unclear. However, children's insistence on belonging to a gender group is seen widely across children who are raised in cultures that ask this question, and is seen in both transgender and cisgender children (Olson & Gülgöz 2018). Researchers have, however, documented differences in transgender and cisgender children's beliefs about gender constancy, as transgender children are more likely to believe that gender can change over the course of the lifespan (Ruble et al., 2007). ...
Chapter
This chapter introduces the processes of gender identity development—particularly as it relates to transgender, gender nonconforming, or genderqueer people. The chapter will first describe different terminology used regarding gender, sex, and other related terms. Further, the authors will review how gender identity development has been described social sciences, while offering unique cultural and indigenous perspectives. A case study will used to demonstrate the complexities of gender, particularly through an intersection lens.
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Middle- and high school-based programs that affirm diverse sexual orientations and gender identities are related to lower rates of bullying and better mental health for LGBTQ students, yet little is known about how to implement affirming programs for elementary-aged children. This study is among the first to examine how an arts-based curriculum for grades K–5 that embraced expansive understandings of gender was related to children’s gender attitudes and beliefs. Structured interviews queried beliefs and attitudes towards activities associated with traditional gender norms with 83 students in a California afterschool program. Following the curriculum, more students reported their gender in expansive terms, specific changes in gender norm beliefs were observed, and attitudes became more positive towards those who engage in gender-expansive roles, activities, and attire (e.g. a boy who becomes a mother). Results suggest that gender-focused arts-based curricula may be associated with increased awareness of gender norms, shifts in understandings of gender, and more positive attitudes toward gender-expansive roles, activities, and attire.
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Background: Canadian specialty clinics offering gender-affirming care to trans and gender diverse children and youth have observed a significant increase in referrals in recent years, but there is a lack of information about the experiences of young people receiving care. Furthermore, treatment protocols governing access to gender-affirming medical interventions remain a topic of debate. Aims: This qualitative research aims to develop a deeper understanding of experiences of trans youth seeking and receiving gender-affirming care at Canadian specialty clinics, including their goals in accessing care, feelings about care and medical interventions they have undergone, and whether they have any regrets about these interventions. Methods: The study uses an adapted Grounded Theory methodology from social determinants of health perspective. Thirty-five trans and gender diverse young people aged 9 to 17 years were recruited to participate in semi-structured interviews through the specialty clinics where they had received or were waiting for gender-affirming medical interventions such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgery. Results: Young people felt positively overall about the care they had received and the medical interventions they had undergone, with many recounting an improvement in their well-being since starting care. Most commonly shared frustrations concerned delays in accessing interventions due to clinic waiting lists or treatment protocols. Some youth described unwanted medication side-effects and others said they had questioned their transition trajectory at certain moments in the past, but none regretted their choice to undergo the interventions. Discussion: The results suggest that trans youth and gender diverse children are benefiting from medical gender-affirming care they receive at specialty clinics, providing valuable insight into their decision-making processes in seeking care and specific interventions. Providers might consider adjusting aspects of treatment protocols (such as age restrictions, puberty stage, or mental health assessments) or applying them on a more flexible, case-by-case basis to reduce barriers to access.
Article
Children hold rich essentialist beliefs about natural and social categories, representing them as discrete (mutually exclusive with sharp boundaries) and stable (with membership remaining constant over an individual’s lifespan). Children use essential categories to make inductive inferences about individuals. How do children determine what categories to consider essential and to use as an inductive base? Although much research has demonstrated children’s use of labels to form categories, here we explore whether children might also use the observed discreteness or stability of a trait to form categories based on that trait. In the present study, we taught children about novel creatures and provided them with a cue (discreteness, stability, labels, or no cue) to form texture categories rather than shape or color categories. Experiment 1 found that children (4–6 years, n = 140) used labels but not discreteness or stability cues to form texture categories more often than at baseline. Experiment 2 (5–6 years, n = 152) found that children who later recognized the stability and discreteness cues used them to form categories more often than those who did not later recognize the cues, but were still overall less likely to use these cues than to use labels cues. Results underscore the unique importance of labels as a cue for category formation and suggest that children do not readily rely on the stability and discreteness of a trait to form animate categories despite readily inferring that such categories are stable and discrete. Implications for natural and social category representations are discussed.
Article
Transgender and gender diverse youth (TGDY) experience modifiable health disparities and difficulty accessing the physical and mental health care systems. Providers and staff should understand the unique needs of this population and provide affirming spaces where these resilient young people can thrive. In addition to addressing social, setting, and system level barriers to access, providers should consider offering comprehensive gender care because this reduces barriers to medical services and can improve health outcomes. This article educates providers about TGDY, reviews the role of mental health care, and provides an overview of medical interventions for gender affirmation.
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Historically, theories of gender development have focused on normative and variant development, with a focus on characteristics that identify children as members of one group or the other. There is increasing understanding of the multidimensional nature of gender as a complex latent characteristic that can be estimated at best through the windows of self-identification, expression, interests, developmental milestones, physical characteristics, and biological indicators. Both health care and social discourse have focused on developmental paradigms that incorporate diversity as a normative aspect of human growth and actualization of an authentic self. In this chapter, we will provide an overview of gender development, a critical commentary on how conceptualizations of gender have changed over the prior decades, and an update on recent developments in gender development research. We conclude with a brief discussion of considerations regarding gender affirmative clinical care and informed assent for transgender and gender diverse (TGD) minors.
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In diesem Kapitel diskutieren wir vor allem die folgenden beiden Fragen: Wie ähnlich oder unterschiedlich sind Mädchen und Jungen in Bezug auf bestimmte psychologische Variablen? Und was könnte Unterschieden zwischen ihnen zugrunde liegen? Nach einer eingehenderen Beschäftigung mit den Begriffen „Geschlecht“ und „Gender“ betrachten wir zunächst die physiologischen, kognitiv-motivationalen und kulturellen Einflüsse, die zur Geschlechterentwicklung beitragen können. Dann skizzieren wir die wichtigsten Meilensteine der Entwicklung von Geschlechterstereotypen und des geschlechtsstereotypen Verhaltens in der Kindesentwicklung. Anschließend vergleichen wir, was man derzeit über die Ähnlichkeiten und Unterschiede von Jungen und Mädchen in bestimmten Entwicklungsbereichen weiß: insbesondere zur körperlichen Entwicklung, zum Erwerb kognitiver und sozialer Fähigkeiten und zur Persönlichkeitsentwicklung.
Article
Transgender people face numerous social hurdles and consequently report elevated rates of mental health problems. However, little research has examined whether established mental health findings generalize to experiences of transgender people outside of Western contexts. In an analysis of the 2017 Chinese Transgender Population General Survey ( N = 1,106), we examined how discrimination and environmental support in a school context related to mental health and self-harm among transgender people. We found that more frequent school discrimination was associated with worse mental health and increased self-harm. Further, perceived environmental support was associated with better mental health but was unrelated to self-harm. These relations did not differ based on whether people were “out” about being transgender at school or between men and women. These findings highlight nuance in the experiences of transgender people outside of Western contexts and hold implications for developing effective social interventions.
Article
Recent studies have found trans individuals to experience high rates of eating disorders. Prior studies have mixed findings of eating disorder rates of trans/nonbinary people with eating disorders. Recent and prior studies, though, have primarily originated within Public Health and Psychology, with little to no research examining trans/nonbinary people’s experiences with eating disorders in the field of Sociology. As such, we analyzed 16 blogs and vlogs (video blogs) of trans/nonbinary people speaking and/or writing about the onset of their eating disorders, reasons for development of eating disorders, and experiences in accessing treatment. Content analysis of these blogs and vlogs serve as an exploratory analysis to provide suggestions for future research, including: institutional cisnormativity in eating disorder treatment, the use of eating disorders as a way of coping with the anxieties of doing gender in a binary society, and the relations of body dysmorphia and gender dysphoria.
Book
Gender is a highly salient and important social group that shapes how children interact with others and how they are treated by others. In this Element, we offer an overview and review of the research on gender development in childhood from a developmental science perspective. We first define gender and the related concepts of sex and gender identity. Second, we discuss how variations in cultural context shape gender development around the world and how variations within gender groups add to the complexity of gender identity development. Third, we discuss major theoretical perspectives in developmental science for studying child gender. Fourth, we examine differences and similarities between girls and boys using the latest meta-analytic evidence. Fifth, we discuss the development of gender, gender identity, and gender socialization throughout infancy, early childhood, and middle childhood. We conclude with a discussion of future directions for the study of gender development in childhood.
Article
This research explored experiences of prepubertal social transition, listening to trans children who were affirmed in childhood, as well as hearing from their parents. Despite being a topic of significant importance, there is limited qualitative literature on parents' or indeed children's experiences of prepubertal social transition and little qualitative research on how childhood rejection or affirmation influences well‐being. This study examines qualitative data from 30 parents with experience supporting a trans child to socially transition at average age 7 years (range 3–10 years), alongside data from 10 of the trans children. Data were analyzed through inductive reflexive thematic analysis. The first major theme explored experiences pretransition, with subthemes on children correcting assumptions, becoming distressed, struggling alone, reaching crisis, or growing withdrawn and frustrated. The second major theme examined experiences posttransition, with subthemes on a weight being lifted, validation at school, and well‐being. This qualitative research complements existing quantitative evidence on the importance of social transition, with childhood affirmation critical to the happiness and well‐being of trans children. The research has significant relevance for parents of trans children, professionals working with families, and policymakers and legislators influencing policy and practice toward trans children and their families.
Article
Transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents bear a disproportionate level of poor health, and adverse developmental and academic outcomes compared to their cisgender peers. In this article, I review evidence from recent research on minority stress and resilience among trans youth and advocate for two additional domains to be included when studying the experiences of trans youth from a minority stress perspective. I describe the variability across sexual-minority and gender-minority youth in experiences of minority stress across and within contexts. I advocate for explicit attention in minority stress models with gender-minority youth to the domains of (a) intrapersonal and interpersonal gender dysphoria, and (b) access and use of affirmative and comprehensive health care. © 2021 The Authors. Child Development Perspectives
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Background: Transgender healthcare is a rapidly evolving interdisciplinary field. In the last decade, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number and visibility of transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people seeking support and gender-affirming medical treatment in parallel with a significant rise in the scientific literature in this area. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is an international, multidisciplinary, professional association whose mission is to promote evidence-based care, education, research, public policy, and respect in transgender health. One of the main functions of WPATH is to promote the highest standards of health care for TGD people through the Standards of Care (SOC). The SOC was initially developed in 1979 and the last version (SOC-7) was published in 2012. In view of the increasing scientific evidence, WPATH commissioned a new version of the Standards of Care, the SOC-8. Aim: The overall goal of SOC-8 is to provide health care professionals (HCPs) with clinical guidance to assist TGD people in accessing safe and effective pathways to achieving lasting personal comfort with their gendered selves with the aim of optimizing their overall physical health, psychological well-being, and self-fulfillment. Methods: The SOC-8 is based on the best available science and expert professional consensus in transgender health. International professionals and stakeholders were selected to serve on the SOC-8 committee. Recommendation statements were developed based on data derived from independent systematic literature reviews, where available, background reviews and expert opinions. Grading of recommendations was based on the available evidence supporting interventions, a discussion of risks and harms, as well as the feasibility and acceptability within different contexts and country settings. Results: A total of 18 chapters were developed as part of the SOC-8. They contain recommendations for health care professionals who provide care and treatment for TGD people. Each of the recommendations is followed by explanatory text with relevant references. General areas related to transgender health are covered in the chapters Terminology, Global Applicability, Population Estimates, and Education. The chapters developed for the diverse population of TGD people include Assessment of Adults, Adolescents, Children, Nonbinary, Eunuchs, and Intersex Individuals, and people living in Institutional Environments. Finally, the chapters related to gender-affirming treatment are Hormone Therapy, Surgery and Postoperative Care, Voice and Communication, Primary Care, Reproductive Health, Sexual Health, and Mental Health. Conclusions: The SOC-8 guidelines are intended to be flexible to meet the diverse health care needs of TGD people globally. While adaptable, they offer standards for promoting optimal health care and guidance for the treatment of people experiencing gender incongruence. As in all previous versions of the SOC, the criteria set forth in this document for gender-affirming medical interventions are clinical guidelines; individual health care professionals and programs may modify these in consultation with the TGD person.
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Attitude theory is used to provide a conceptual analysis of how attitudes toward men and women relate to gender stereotypes. Consistent with this analysis, attitudes toward the sexes related positively to the evaluative meaning of the corresponding gender stereo-types. In addition, attitudes and stereotypes about women were extremely favorable - in fact, more favorable than those about men. The findings also demonstrated that the Attitudes Toward Women Scale assesses attitudes toward equal rights for women not attitudes toward women, and therefore did not relate to the evaluative meaning of subjects' stereotypes about women.
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In an experiment, job description and applicants' attributes were examined as moderators of the backlash effect, the negative evaluation of agentic women for violating prescriptions of feminine niceness (Rudman, 1998). Rutgers University students made hiring decisions for a masculine or “feminized” managerial job. Applicants were presented as either agentic or androgynous. Replicating Rudman and Glick (1999), a feminized job description promoted hiring discrimination against an agentic female because she was perceived as insufficiently nice. Unique to the present research, this perception was related to participants' possession of an implicit (but not explicit) agency-communality stereotype. By contrast, androgynous female applicants were not discriminated against. The findings suggest that the prescription for female niceness is an implicit belief that penalizes women unless they temper their agency with niceness.
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Previous research has shown that the early learning of male–female categories is characterized by rigid beliefs about stereotypic differences, but that once gender knowledge is well established, the beliefs become more flexible. Because most studies are cross-sectional, it is not known if the early rigidity represents a normative transitional developmental stage that passes, or if early individual differences in rigidity continue into later childhood. To answer that question, analyses were performed on longitudinal data of 64 children who had been questioned about their gender concepts yearly from ages 5 to 10 years. Supporting a cognitive-developmental approach, the findings showed that the period of rigidity was short-lived whether rigidity began early or late or whether the level of peak rigidity was high or low. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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A study of 210 fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth graders and adults was conducted to determine developmental trends in both destereotyping of traditionally gender-typed activities and preferences for those activities, and to compare activity preferences of tomboys with other females and with males at different ages. Tenth graders destereotyped less than the other age levels. Additionally, female subjects destereotyped traditionally boys' activities more than girls' activities and more than male subjects. Although nontomboys and boys showed a preference for gender-traditional activities, tomboys preferred traditional girls' and boys' activities equally. Self-defined tomboys do not reject traditionally female activities; instead, they expand their repertoire of activities to include both gender-traditional and nontraditional activities. It is suggested that girls who are able to transcend gender-role behavior in childhood may be the ones who will grow into androgynous adult women.
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The aim of this qualitative study was to obtain a better understanding of the developmental trajectories of persistence and desistence of childhood gender dysphoria and the psychosexual outcome of gender dysphoric children. Twenty five adolescents (M age 15.88, range 14-18), diagnosed with a Gender Identity Disorder (DSM-IV or DSM-IV-TR) in childhood, participated in this study. Data were collected by means of biographical interviews. Adolescents with persisting gender dysphoria (persisters) and those in whom the gender dysphoria remitted (desisters) indicated that they considered the period between 10 and 13 years of age to be crucial. They reported that in this period they became increasingly aware of the persistence or desistence of their childhood gender dysphoria. Both persisters and desisters stated that the changes in their social environment, the anticipated and actual feminization or masculinization of their bodies, and the first experiences of falling in love and sexual attraction had influenced their gender related interests and behaviour, feelings of gender discomfort and gender identification. Although, both persisters and desisters reported a desire to be the other gender during childhood years, the underlying motives of their desire seemed to be different.
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We administered the Gender Identity Interview for Children, a 12-item child-informant measure, to children referred clinically for gender identity problems in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (N = 329) and Amsterdam, The Netherlands (N = 228) and 173 control children. Confirmatory factor analysis identified a Cognitive Gender Confusion factor (4 items) and an Affective Gender Confusion factor (8 items). Patients from both clinics had a significantly higher deviant total score than the controls, and the Dutch patients had a significantly higher deviant score than the Toronto patients. In this cross-national study, we are the first to report on the validity of this measure to discriminate children with gender identity disorder from controls outside of North America.
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Two aspects of children's early gender development-the spontaneous production of gender labels and gender-typed play-were examined longitudinally in a sample of 82 children. Survival analysis, a statistical technique well suited to questions involving developmental transitions, was used to investigate the timing of the onset of children's gender labeling as based on mothers' biweekly telephone interviews regarding their children's language from 9 through 21 months. Videotapes of children's play both alone and with mother during home visits at 17 and 21 months were independently analyzed for play with gender-stereotyped and gender-neutral toys. Finally, the relation between gender labeling and gender-typed play was examined. Children transitioned to using gender labels at approximately 19 months, on average. Although girls and boys showed similar patterns in the development of gender labeling, girls began labeling significantly earlier than boys. Modest sex differences in play were present at 17 months and increased at 21 months. Gender labeling predicted increases in gender-typed play, suggesting that knowledge of gender categories might influence gender typing before the age of 2.
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This study assessed the relative influences of approach and avoidance behaviors toward same-sex and cross-sex toys in the play of children with gender identity disorder and in normal boys, normal girls, and psychiatric controls. Three forced-choice situations with toys and three forced-choice situations with dress-up apparel were presented that paired same-sex and cross-sex stimuli, same-sex and neutral stimuli, and cross-sex and neutral stimuli. In the same-sex/cross-sex situation, the gender-disordered group played a significantly shorter time with the same-sex stimuli and a significantly longer time with the cross-sex stimuli than the normal boys and the psychiatric controls, whereas the play patterns of the normal girls fell in between that of the gender-disordered group and the two control groups. Within-groups analyses showed that the normal boys and the psychiatric controls preferred the same-sex toys, whereas the gender-disordered group and the normal girls showed no preference. When the neutral toys were the alternative, avoidance of cross-sex toys appeared to be stronger than the attraction to same-sex toys in the normal boys and in the psychiatric controls. The relative influence of approach-avoidance tendencies was more equivocal in the gender-disordered group, though they appeared to have a weaker attraction to same-sex toys and less avoidance of cross-sex toys in comparison with the normal boys and the psychiatric controls. The approach-avoidance patterns of the normal girls fell in between that of the gender-disordered group and the other two control groups.
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Gender-disturbed children (n = 14) were compared to their preadolescent siblings (n = 16) and psychiatric controls (n = 13) on a sex-typed free-play task previously shown to differentiate gender-disturbed boys from normal boys. On three separate trials totaling 20 minutes, the gender-disturbed children played for a significantly longer period of time with cross-sex toys and for a significantly shorter period of time with same-sex toys than did the two control groups. The gender-disturbed children also showed greater trial-to-trial consistency in their play preferences than the other two groups. The utility of this task in the assessment of childhood gender disturbance is discussed. In addition, the results are discussed in relation to a number of perspectives regarding both typical and atypical gender identity development in childhood.
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Women who display masculine, agentic traits are viewed as violating prescriptions of feminine niceness (L. A. Rudman, 1998). By legitimizing niceness as an employment criterion, "feminization" of management (requiring both agentic and communal traits for managers) may unintentionally promote discrimination against competent women. Participants made hiring recommendations for a feminized or masculine managerial job. Agentic female job applicants were viewed as less socially skilled than agentic males, but this perception only resulted in hiring discrimination for the feminized, not the masculine, job. Communal applicants (regardless of sex) invariably received low hiring ratings. Thus, women must present themselves as agentic to be hireable, but may therefore be seen as interpersonally deficient. Ironically, the feminization of management may legitimize discrimination against competent, agentic women.
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Gender constancy judgments in children referred for problems in their gender identity development (N = 206) and controls (N = 95) were compared. On Slaby and Frey's (1975) gender constancy interview, the gender-referred children performed more poorly than the controls at three stage levels: gender identity, gender stability, and gender consistency. On the Boy-Girl Identity Task, a second measure of gender constancy (Emmerich et al., 1977), the gender-referred children also performed more poorly. Gender-referred children who had not attained gender consistency engaged in significantly less same-sex-typed play on a free-play task than the gender-referred children who had, but there were no gender consistency effects for the controls. Two other measures of sex-typed behavior were unrelated to gender consistency. In the gender-referred group alone, children who "failed" the gender identity or gender stability stages were more likely to draw an opposite-sex person first on the Draw-a-Person test and to evince more affective gender confusion on the Gender Identity Interview (Zucker et al., 1993) than children who had "passed." It is concluded that children referred for problems in their gender identity development have a developmental lag in gender constancy acquisition. Possible reasons for the lag are discussed.
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Social and economic sanctions for counterstereotypical behavior have been termed the backlash effect. The authors present a model of the role of backlash in cultural stereotype maintenance from the standpoint of both perceivers and actors. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants lost a competition to either atypical or typical men or women and subsequently showed greater tendency to sabotage deviants. Moreover, undermining deviants was associated with increased self-esteem, suggesting that backlash rewards perceivers psychologically. Experiment 3 showed that gender deviants who feared backlash resorted to strategies designed to avoid it (e.g., hiding, deception, and gender conformity). Further, perceivers who sabotaged deviants (Experiment 2) or deviants who hid their atypicality (Experiment 3) estimated greater stereotyping on the part of future perceivers, in support of the model's presumed role for backlash in stereotype maintenance. The implications of the findings for cultural stereotypes are discussed.
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The present study compared the sex-typed preferences for playmates and play styles in children referred for concerns about their gender identity development (199 boys, 43 girls) with that of controls (96 boys, 38 girls). Each child was administered the Playmate and Play Style Preferences Structured Interview (PPPSI) developed by Alexander and Hines (Alexander, G. M., & Hines, M. (1994). Child Development, 65, 869-879). In the two single dimension conditions (playmates and play styles), the controls significantly preferred same-sex playmates and same-sex play styles whereas the gender-referred children significantly preferred cross-sex playmates and cross-sex play styles. Effect sizes ranged from 1.56-2.78. In the conflict condition (which required a choice between same-sex playmates and cross-sex play styles vs. cross-sex playmates and same-sex play styles), there was a general indication of a hierarchical preference for the preferred play style in the single dimension condition as opposed to the preferred playmate except for the gender-referred boys, who showed an inverted pattern. For the gender-referred group, the PPPSI data were significantly correlated with other measures of sex-typed behavior, providing evidence of predictive validity. The PPPSI also discriminated between probands threshold and subthreshold for the diagnosis of gender identity disorder. The results were discussed in relation to both basic and applied issues in the assessment of sex-typed behavior in children.
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In the present work, we ask whether socially transitioned, transgender children differ from other children in their endorsement of gender stereotypes and response to others' gender nonconformity. We compare transgender children (N = 56) to a group of siblings of transgender children (N = 37), and a group of unrelated control participants (N = 56) during middle childhood (ages 6-8 years old). Our results indicate that transgender children and the siblings of transgender children endorse gender stereotypes less than the control group. Further, transgender children see violations of gender stereotypes as more acceptable, and they are more willing to indicate a desire to befriend and attend school with someone who violates gender stereotypes than the control participants. These results held after statistically controlling for demographic differences between families with and without transgender children. We discuss several possible reasons that can explain these differences.
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An increasing number of transgender children-those who express a gender identity that is "opposite" their natal sex-are socially transitioning, or presenting as their gender identity in everyday life. This study asks whether these children differ from gender-typical peers on basic gender development tasks. Three- to 5-year-old socially transitioned transgender children (n = 36) did not differ from controls matched on age and expressed gender (n = 36), or siblings of transgender and gender nonconforming children (n = 24) on gender preference, behavior, and belief measures. However, transgender children were less likely than both control groups to believe that their gender at birth matches their current gender, whereas both transgender children and siblings were less likely than controls to believe that other people's gender is stable.
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The goal was to test a new dual identity perspective on gender identity by asking children (n = 467) in three grades (Mage = 5.7, 7.6, 9.5) to consider the relation of the self to both boys and girls. This change shifted the conceptualization of gender identity from one to two dimensions, provided insights into the meaning and measurement of gender identity, and allowed for revisiting ideas about the roles of gender identity in adjustment. Using a graphical measure to allow assessment of identity in young children and cluster analyses to determine types of identity, it was found that individual and developmental differences in how similar children feel to both genders, and these variations matter for many important personal and social outcomes.
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A visible and growing cohort of transgender children in North America live according to their expressed gender rather than their natal sex, yet scientific research has largely ignored this population. In the current study, we adopted methodological advances from social-cognition research to investigate whether 5- to 12-year-old prepubescent transgender children (N = 32), who were presenting themselves according to their gender identity in everyday life, showed patterns of gender cognition more consistent with their expressed gender or their natal sex, or instead appeared to be confused about their gender identity. Using implicit and explicit measures, we found that transgender children showed a clear pattern: They viewed themselves in terms of their expressed gender and showed preferences for their expressed gender, with response patterns mirroring those of two cisgender (nontransgender) control groups. These results provide evidence that, early in development, transgender youth are statistically indistinguishable from cisgender children of the same gender identity. © The Author(s) 2015.
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Inconsistencies that have been reported in past research on developmental changes in gender schemata actually may be a consequence of differences in the way these schemata have been conceptualized and measured. Meta-analysis was used to evaluate this interpretation of past work. On forced choice measures, in which children must select one sex or the other for each item (e.g., "Who is the strong one?"), "correct" matches to societal stereotypes increased with age. Increases were not, however, related to the type of question used (e.g., "Who is ...?" versus "Who can ...?"). Girls made more stereotype matches than boys, although the magnitude of the effect was small. In contrast, on nonforced choice measures, type of question did affect results. Children showed increases in nonstereotyped responses with age, but especially when asked "Who should . . ." or "Who can . . ." , and when elementary-school-aged (as well as preschool-aged) children were included. Girls gave significantly more nonstereotyped responses than boys, especially among older samples and when the domain was traits. Both the age and the sex effects in nonstereotyped responses were larger in more recent studies. IQ and television viewing were significantly related to forced choice scores, whereas television viewing, maternal employment, and memory for gender-stereotyped material were all significantly related to non-forced choice scores. Implications for the distinction between knowledge of stereotypes and attitudes toward stereotypes are discussed.
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Infants’ visual preferences for gender-stereotyped toys and their knowledge of stereotyped toys were examined in two experiments using an adaptation of the preferential looking paradigm. Girls and boys aged 12, 18, and 24 months were tested for their preference for photos of vehicles or dolls, and for whether they associated (“matched”) these two stereotyped sets of toys with the faces and voices of male and female children. Results of Experiment 1 (N = 77) demonstrated significant preferences for gender stereotyped toys appearing by 18 months of age. In Experiment 2 (N = 58), girls were able to associate the gender-stereotyped toys with girls’ and boys’ faces by 18 months of age, but boys were not. Implications for theories of early gender development are discussed.
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Objective: To examine the factors associated with the persistence of childhood gender dysphoria (GD), and to assess the feelings of GD, body image, and sexual orientation in adolescence. Method: The sample consisted of 127 adolescents (79 boys, 48 girls), who were referred for GD in childhood (<12 years of age) and followed up in adolescence. We examined childhood differences among persisters and desisters in demographics, psychological functioning, quality of peer relations and childhood GD, and adolescent reports of GD, body image, and sexual orientation. We examined contributions of childhood factors on the probability of persistence of GD into adolescence. Results: We found a link between the intensity of GD in childhood and persistence of GD, as well as a higher probability of persistence among natal girls. Psychological functioning and the quality of peer relations did not predict the persistence of childhood GD. Formerly nonsignificant (age at childhood assessment) and unstudied factors (a cognitive and/or affective cross-gender identification and a social role transition) were associated with the persistence of childhood GD, and varied among natal boys and girls. Conclusion: Intensity of early GD appears to be an important predictor of persistence of GD. Clinical recommendations for the support of children with GD may need to be developed independently for natal boys and for girls, as the presentation of boys and girls with GD is different, and different factors are predictive for the persistence of GD.
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A series of studies investigated White U.S. three- and four-year-old children's use of gender and race information to reason about their own and others' relationships and attributes. Three-year-old children used gender- but not race-based similarity between themselves and others to decide with whom they wanted to be friends, as well as to determine which children shared their own preferences for various social activities. Four-year-old (but not younger) children attended to gender and racial category membership to guide inferences about others' relationships, but did not use these categories to reason about others' shared activity preferences. Taken together, the findings provide evidence for three suggestions about these children's social category-based reasoning. First, gender is a more potent category than race. Second, social categories are initially recruited for first-person reasoning, but later become broad enough to support third-person inferences. Finally, at least for third-person reasoning, thinking about social categories is more attuned to social relationships than to shared attributes.
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Although much evidence suggests that gender stereotyping becomes less flexible during adolescence, results of the present study indicate that gender stereotypes may actually become more flexible at some point during certain adolescent school transitions. The authors measured the flexibility of gender stereotypes in adolescents in Grades 4 through 11, using a combined cross-sectional and longitudinal design. Results indicated that flexibility increased for stereotypes concerning the psychological attributes of men and women after the transition into junior high school, regardless of whether this transition occurred during the 7th or 8th grade. Over the remaining years of junior high and high school, stereotype flexibility decreased. These results help resolve previous inconsistencies found in the literature by suggesting when and why changes in gender stereotype flexibility versus rigidity occur during adolescence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Tested how children use information about others" sex, sex-typed interests, and cross-sex labels to make predictions. 72 children (4–10 years) heard descriptions of girls and boys with either stereotypic, counterstereotypic, or neutral interests, or they were labeled as tomboys or sissies. Children rated how much they and other boys and girls would like each child and predicted how much each child would want to play with 4 sex-typed toys. Both younger and older children liked same-sex children and disliked tomboys and sissies. In contrast, younger and older children used information differently when predicting toy preferences. Young children ignored targets" interests and based their judgments on targets" sex, whereas older children used both types of information. These results may be due to younger and older children"s different processing abilities, to age changes in gender stereotypes, or to both. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This study explored the hypothesis that young boys described by parents as showing feminine behavior prefer the playthings of girls when given access to girls' and boy's toys. Fifteen boys, aged 4–10, described as frequently cross-dressing, preferring female playmates, showing feminine gestures, and playing a female in games were compared with 15 boys described as masculine. Boys were placed in a room with masculine and feminine toys and observed for 15 min through a one-way mirror. Masculine boys played more with masculine toys and feminine boys more with feminine toys. Toys which best separated the groups were a doll and a truck. Introduction of a parent did not significantly alter these patterns. This procedure may allow for manipulation of parental reaction to the child's toy selection in an effort to modify feminine preferences.
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This research examined 3- to 11-year-old children's knowledge of and beliefs about violating several gender norms (e.g., toys, play styles, occupations, parental roles, hairstyles, and clothing) as compared to social and moral norms. Knowledge of the norms and understanding that norm violations were possible increased with age. The children's evaluations of violations of gender norms varied from item to item. Violations concerning becoming a parent of the other gender were devalued in both boys and girls, whereas most toy and occupation violations were not especially devalued in either. Boys with feminine hairstyles or clothing were evaluated more negatively than girls with masculine hairstyles or clothing. On the other hand, girls who played in masculine play styles were devalued relative to boys who played in feminine styles. Evaluations of norm violations were not consistently related to age.
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A test of gender discrimination in response to familiar labels was developed and given to 17- to 42-month-old children. A pretest employing pictures of familiar objects was presented first to ensure that subjects could perform a discrimination task, followed by separate gender tests comprised of photographs of stereotypically masculine and feminine children and adults. There were no sex differences in performance for the gender tests, but among the youngest children, more boys than girls could not be tested. Psychometric aspects of the tests were investigated and found adequate. The tests allow individual children to be classified as to gender-labeling ability and provide a useful tool for investigating gender knowledge.
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The major goal was to examine a central tenet of cognitive approaches to gender development, namely, that congruence exists between personal gender stereotypes and behaviors. Item-by-item comparisons of girls' stereotypes about activities and their preferences for activities were conducted, for both girls who claimed to be tomboys and those who did not. Congruence was expected for all girls, but because of their gender non-normative interests, tomboys may exhibit less congruence. A secondary goal was to examine factors that might influence congruence, specifically, whether tomboys develop more inclusive stereotypes and develop greater understanding of stereotype variability. Participants included 112 girls (7-12 years old, M age=9). Girls were interviewed about their activity preferences, beliefs about girls' and boys' activity preferences, understanding variability of stereotypes, and identification as tomboys. Tomboys (30% of the sample) and non-tomboys did not differ in their liking of or in the number of liked feminine activities. However, tomboys showed more interest in masculine activities than non-tomboys. Tomboys and non-tomboys did not differ in stereotype inclusiveness, although tomboys showed a trend toward more inclusive stereotypes. Both groups showed high levels of congruence between stereotypes and preferences. Congruence was stronger for nontomboys (14 times more likely to exhibit responses congruent with stereotypes vs. incongruent ones), as compared to tomboys who were four times more likely to exhibit responses congruent with stereotypes versus incongruent ones. Implications of these findings for cognitive approaches to gender development are discussed.
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4 developmental levels of gender constancy were identified in 55 preschool-age children on the basis of a reproducible Guttman scale of answers to sets of questions pertaining to gender identity, gender stability over time, and gender consistency across situations. Children's developmental level of gender constancy was predictive of the amount and the proportion of time they attended to an adult male and an adult female film model. As boys developed gender constancy, their relative preference for watching the male model increased significantly; as girls developed gender constancy, their relative preference for watching the female model increased, though not significantly. At the more advanced levels of gender constancy, boys watched the male model more than did girls. It was suggested that same-sex social learning may develop as a function of children's cognitive understanding of gender as an identifiable, stable and consistent human attribute.
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Procedures for assessing children's sex-typed play were developed which (a) examined children's continuous play in four sessions totaling 20 minutes rather than measuring only initial choice of a sex-typed toy, and (b) did not impose the stimulus-specific condition of requiring an adult experimenter to be present to administer the task. Play with "masculine" and "feminine" toys was observed for 120 normal children (60 boys, 60 girls) aged 3 yr.-8 yr., and 15 similarly aged boys diagnosed as having childhood gender disturbance. Significant differences were found in the sex-typed play of the two normal groups, but no age differences were observed. The amount of feminine play by the feminoid boys was found to be significantly greater than that of normal boys, but not significantly different from the predominantly feminine play patterns of the normal girls. The usefulness of such a measure for the clinical assessment of deviant sex-role development in young children is discussed.
Children referred because of concerns about their gender identity development were compared to their siblings on 4 sex-typed measures (15 variables) at both assessment and a 1-year follow-up. At assessment, the gender-referred children differed from their siblings on all but one variable. At follow-up, the gender-referred children either maintained or significantly reduced their degree of cross-gender behavior; compared to their siblings, however, they continued to differ on the majority of measures. Degree of behavioral change at follow-up correlated positively with number of therapy sessions (child, parent, and total) and the child therapist’s emphasis on gender identity issues.
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The present study represented a cognitive-developmental analysis of the effects of televised, sex-stereotypic information on children's behavior and attitudes toward toy play. The subjects were 50 male and 50 female 4-6-year-olds divided into high and low gender-constancy levels. As the children watched a cartoon, they either saw a commercial of a gender-neutral toy that showed 2 boys or 2 girls playing with the toy, or they saw no commercial (control). As predicted, only the high gender-constant children were differentially affected by the sex-role information in the different commercial conditions. Children at this stage who saw opposite-sex children playing with the toy avoided spending time with the toy and stated verbally that the toy was more appropriate for an opposite-sex sibling, relative to children in the 2 other conditions. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for theories of sex-role development and in terms of the role that television may play in maintaining sex stereotypes and sex-typed behavior.
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This article addresses whether young children's play-partner choices are stable over time and how these choices influence behavior. Sixty-one children (28 boys and 33 girls; mean age = 53 months) were observed over 6 months, and type of play behavior and sex of play partners were recorded. Children's partner preferences were highly sex differentiated and stable over time, especially when larger aggregates of data were used. Two types of consequences were identified: a binary effect that influenced differences between the sexes and a social dosage effect that influenced variations within the sexes. The binary effect reflected a pattern in which the more both girls and boys played with same-sex partners, the more their behavior became sex differentiated. The social dosage effect reflected a pattern in which variations in levels of same-sex play in the fall contributed significantly to variations in the spring above initial levels of the target behaviors.
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The contribution of cognitive perspectives (cognitive-developmental theory and gender schema theory) to a contemporary understanding of gender development is evaluated. Recent critiques of cognitive approaches are discussed and empirical evidence is presented to counter these critiques. Because of the centrality of early gender development to the cognitive perspective, the latest research is reviewed on how infants and toddlers discriminate the sexes and learn the attributes correlated with sex. The essence of cognitive approaches--emphasis on motivational consequences of gender concepts; the active, self-initiated view of development; and focus on developmental patterns-is highlighted and contrasted with social-cognitive views. The value of cognitive theories to the field is illustrated, and recommendations are made concerning how to construct comprehensive, integrative perspectives of gender development.
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Kohlberg's (1966) hypothesis that the attainment of gender constancy motivates children to attend to gender norms was reevaluated by examining these links in relation to age. Ninety-four 3- to 7-year-old children were interviewed to assess whether and how constancy mediates age-related changes in gender-related beliefs. As expected, results indicated a general pattern of an increase in stereotype knowledge, the importance and positive evaluation of one's own gender category, and rigidity of beliefs between the ages of 3 and 5. Moreover, the stability phase, rather than full constancy, mediated some of these relations. After age 5, rigidity generally decreased with age, with relations primarily mediated by consistency.
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