Survey examines effects of conversion therapy on trans mental health

The results of an extensive new survey have shown exposure to conversion therapy for trans and gender diverse people can lead to adverse effects on mental health.

The study published in JAMA Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association, posed questions to more than 27,000 transgender folk across the United States and associated territories.

The survey aimed to “evaluate associations between recalled exposure to Gender Identity Conversion Efforts (GICE) (by a secular or religious professional) and adult mental health outcomes.

“This study was the first, to our knowledge, to show an association between exposure to GICE (lifetime and childhood) and adverse mental health outcomes among transgender adults in the United States,” the publication reads.

“We found that recalled lifetime exposure to GICE was highly prevalent among adults: 14.0% of all transgender survey respondents and 19.6% of those who had discussed gender identity with a professional reported exposure
to GICE.”

Of the 19,741 respondents who had spoken to a mental health or medical professional about their gender identity, 19.6% had reported exposure to conversion therapy.

“Recalled lifetime exposure was associated with severe psychological distress during the previous month compared with non-GICE therapy. Associations were found between recalled lifetime exposure and higher odds of lifetime suicide attempts and recalled exposure before the age of 10 years and increased odds of lifetime suicide attempts.”

“The findings suggest that recalled exposure to GICE is associated with adverse mental health outcomes in adulthood, including severe psychological distress, lifetime suicidal ideation, and lifetime suicide attempts,” the study’s authors conclude.

“In this study, exposure to GICE before age 10 years was associated with adverse mental health outcomes compared with therapy without conversion efforts. Results from this study support past positions taken by leading professional organizations that GICE should be avoided with children and adults.”

OIP Staff

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