A third of transgender teens taking puberty blockers suffer from mental health problems, according to a new analysis.
The study found that 34% of children had a “steady deterioration” in their mental health over the course of 12 months of treatment.
The findings were originally based on group averages from questionnaires distributed to parents and children.
However, the researchers claim that the new analysis, based on individualized results, provides “a greater measure of variation between participants.”
The new analysis was carried out by Susan McPherson, professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Essex’s School of Health and Social Care, and former social scientist David Freedman.
“This complementary analytical approach allows us to examine how treatment is performing in terms of the proportion of patients who improve, worsen, and show clinically significant change.”
“Using this approach, it is possible to look at patterns such as who is benefiting and who is not.”
“We recommend incorporating these approaches into new GDs. [gender dysphoria] Services are being established in the UK and new research studies are being planned. ”
The findings were also shared with Dr Hilary Cass, who is currently conducting an independent review of gender identity services for children and young people.
In February 2022, he published an interim report on gender services for children, which found an “evidence gap” on the use of puberty blockers.
They analyzed 44 children aged 12 to 15 who were taking puberty blockers.
The research has been welcomed by hospital trusts that help young people transition.
A UCLH spokesperson said: “We fully support Dr Hilary Cass’s recommendation that research be fully integrated into the development of new services for children and young people expressing gender diversity.
“We also support the proposal that puberty-suppressing hormones should only be available as part of clinical research studies with relevant scientific and ethical approval.
“We welcome contributions to the evidence base on medical interventions for young people who express gender nonconformity and are working with a new national research oversight committee to support robust data collection and analysis in this area. We will continue to work closely together.”