HealthDay News — For transgender adults, access to gender-affirming hormones (GAH) during adolescence and adulthood is associated with improved mental health, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in PLOS ONE.
Jack L. Turban, M.D., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues examined associations between access to GAH during adolescence and adulthood and mental health outcomes in a secondary analysis of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, which included data for 27,715 transgender adults in the United States.
Overall, 77.9 percent of participants reported ever desiring GAH. Of these, 41.0 percent never accessed GAH, while 0.6, 1.7, and 56.8 percent accessed GAH in early adolescence (age 14 to 15 years), late adolescence (age 16 to 17 years), or adulthood (age 18 years or older). The researchers found that accessing GAH during early adolescence, late adolescence, and adulthood was associated with lower odds of past-year suicidal ideation compared with desiring but never accessing GAH (adjusted odds ratios, 0.4, 0.5, and 0.8, respectively). In post-hoc analyses, the odds of past-year suicidal ideation were reduced with access to GAH during adolescence (ages 14 to 17 years) compared with access during adulthood (adjusted odds ratio, 0.7).
“This study is particularly relevant now because many state legislatures are introducing bills that would outlaw this kind of care for transgender youth,” Turban said in a statement. “We are adding to the evidence base that shows why gender-affirming care is beneficial from a mental health perspective.”
Two authors disclosed financial ties to the publishing industry; one author received expert witness payments from the ACLU.