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01-05-2014 | Uitgave 4/2014

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 4/2014

Behavioral and Emotional Problems on the Teacher’s Report Form: A Cross-National, Cross-Clinic Comparative Analysis of Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 4/2014
Auteurs:
Thomas D. Steensma, Kenneth J. Zucker, Baudewijntje P. C. Kreukels, Doug P. VanderLaan, Hayley Wood, Amanda Fuentes, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis

Abstract

For gender dysphoric children and adolescents, the school environment may be challenging due to peer social ostracism and rejection. To date, information on the psychological functioning and the quality of peer relations in gender dysphoric children and adolescents has been studied via parental report, peer sociometric methods, and social interactions in laboratory play groups. The present study was the first cross-national investigation that assessed behavior and emotional problems and the quality of peer relations, both measured by the Teacher’s Report Form (TRF), in a sample of 728 gender dysphoric patients (554 children, 174 adolescents), who were referred to specialized gender identity clinics in the Netherlands and Canada. The gender dysphoric adolescents had significantly more teacher-reported emotional and behavioral problems than the gender dysphoric children. In both countries, gender dysphoric natal boys had poorer peer relations and more internalizing than externalizing problems compared to the gender dysphoric natal girls. Furthermore, there were significant between-clinic differences: both the children and the adolescents from Canada had more emotional and behavioral problems and a poorer quality of peer relations than the children and adolescents from the Netherlands. In conclusion, gender dysphoric children and adolescents showed the same pattern of emotional and behavioral problems in both countries. The extent of behavior and emotional problems was, however, higher in Canada than in the Netherlands, which appeared, in part, an effect of a poorer quality of peer relations. Per Bronfenbrenner’s (American Psychologist, 32, 513–531, 1977) ecological model of human development and well-being, we consider various interpretations of the cross-national, cross-clinic differences on TRF behavior problems at the level of the family, the peer group, and the culture at large.

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