Psychosocial support interventions for children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria or incongruence: a systematic review

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BACKGROUND: National and international guidelines recommend that psychosocial support should be a key component of the care offered to children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria/incongruence. However, specific approaches or interventions are not recommended.

AIM: To identify and summarise evidence on the outcomes of psychosocial support interventions for children and adolescents (age 0-18) experiencing gender dysphoria/incongruence.

METHODS: Systematic review and narrative synthesis. Database searches (MEDLINE; EMBASE; CINAHL; PsycINFO; Web of Science) were performed in April 2022, with results assessed independently by two reviewers. Peer-reviewed articles reporting the results of studies measuring outcomes of psychosocial support interventions were included. Quality was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.

RESULTS: Ten studies were included. Half were conducted in the US, with others from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. Six were pre-post analyses or cohort studies, three were mixed methods, and one was a secondary analysis of intervention data from four trials. Most studies were of low quality. Most analyses of mental health and psychosocial outcomes showed either benefit or no change, with none indicating negative or adverse effects.

CONCLUSIONS: The small number of low-quality studies limits conclusions about the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for children/adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria/incongruence. Clarity on the intervention approach as well as the core outcomes would support the future aggregation of evidence. More robust methodology and reporting is required.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Journal Archives of Disease in Childhood
Early online date9 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2024

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