A fourth rationale for the treatment of GID during childhood is that such treatment might prevent its continuation into adolescence and adulthood. For many clinicians, there is little disagreement about this, given the emotional distress experienced by adults with GID and the physically and often socially painful measures required to align an adult’s phenotypic sex with his or her subjective gender identity. In some respects, this rationale is consistent with general notions about “prevention” or altering the natural history of a disorder. For example, treatment of oppositional-defiant disorder in young children might reduce the likelihood of later conduct disorder, which, in turn, might reduce the likelihood of antisocial personality disorder in adulthood (Lahey et al. 2000).
Revision date: July 8, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD