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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Yale: Research Indicates Mental Health Outcomes Improve for Transgender Individuals After Surgery

Transgender individuals who undergo gender-affirming surgery are significantly less likely to seek mental health treatment for depression and anxiety disorders or attempt suicide in the years following the procedure, new research led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study reviewed 10 years of medical data for the entire population of Sweden and is believed to be the first analysis of the long-term effect of hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery on transgender individuals’ mental health based on a country’s population.

While more than 95 percent of the transgender individuals who had surgery also received hormone therapy, the researchers found that hormone therapy alone did not significantly reduce the likelihood of mental health therapy visits and psychiatric medications for individuals diagnosed with gender incongruence.

For those who underwent surgery, however, the likelihood that they would receive mental health treatment for depression and anxiety disorders was reduced by 8 percent for each year after the procedure, the study found.

“We know that transgender individuals are at higher risk of psychological distress than the general population due to stigma-related stress and stress associated with a lack of affirmation of their gender identity,” said co-author Dr. John Pachankis, the Susan Dwight Bliss Associate Professor of Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health. “No longer can we say that we lack high-quality evidence of the benefits of providing gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek them.”

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