Individuals are receiving diagnoses of gender dysphoria (GD) — also known as gender identity disorder — at younger ages, according to a new study published in General Psychiatry, an open access journal that covers mental health issues and more.
“Gender dysphoria” is defined as “psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity,” per the American Psychiatric Association.
It’s marked by a “desire and conviction to be the other gender,” said Dr. Ryan Sultan, director of integrative psych and a psychiatry professor at Columbia University in New York, in a statement to Fox News Digital.
Researchers reviewed data between 2017 and 2021 from the TriNetX database, which compiles medical records from multiple health care organizations.
Those who were born female were more likely to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria (58% versus 55% for males).
Females also reported experiencing the disorder at earlier ages than males.
Boys generally enter puberty between 9 and 14 years of age; for girls, it usually begins between 8 and 13, per Cleveland Clinic.
That discrepancy could be part of the reason for girls’ gender dysphoria starting sooner, researchers said.
Those who were born female were more likely to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria (58% versus 55% for males), a new study determined, (iStock)
In terms of why diagnoses are occurring at younger ages for both males and females, researchers said it could be due to “increasing acceptance” and a wider availability of “specialty gender clinics.”
“The decreased mean age of GD suggests less oppression of gender minority youth and increased awareness of gender diversity,” they also wrote.
‘Not a permanent diagnosis’
Gender dysphoria is “not a permanent diagnosis,” the researchers wrote in the journal article.
“It can be expected that gender identity will be fluid for some populations across the lifespan,” said Dr. Zachary Ginder, a psychological consultant and doctor of clinical psychology at Pine Siskin Consulting, LLC in Riverside, California, in a statement to Fox News Digital.
The records from the large research database did not include precise location data, race or ethnicity.
“Most of the data stemmed from the United States, and it is not necessarily generalizable to populations outside the country,” said Ginder. “Within the U.S., it can be inferred that state-to-state prevalence data may vary.”