Article

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 41-53

Demographic Characteristics, Social Competence, and Behavior Problems in Children with Gender Identity Disorder: A Cross-National, Cross-Clinic Comparative Analysis

  • Peggy T. Cohen-KettenisAffiliated withGender Clinic, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center
  • , Allison OwenAffiliated withChild Psychiatry Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Clarke Division, Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic
  • , Vanessa G. KaijserAffiliated withGender Clinic, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center
  • , Susan J. BradleyAffiliated withChild Psychiatry Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Clarke Division, Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic
  • , Kenneth J. ZuckerAffiliated withChild Psychiatry Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Clarke Division, Child and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic Email author 

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Abstract

This study examined demographic characteristics, social competence, and behavior problems in clinic-referred children with gender identity problems in Toronto, Canada (N = 358), and Utrecht, The Netherlands (N = 130). The Toronto sample was, on average, about a year younger than the Utrecht sample at referral, had a higher percentage of boys, had a higher mean IQ, and was less likely to be living with both parents. On the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), both groups showed, on average, clinical range scores in both social competence and behavior problems. A CBCL-derived measure of poor peer relations showed that boys in both clinics had worse ratings than did the girls. A multiple regression analysis showed that poor peer relations were the strongest predictor of behavior problems in both samples. This study—the first cross-national, cross-clinic comparative analysis of children with gender identity disorder—found far more similarities than differences in both social competence and behavior problems. The most salient demographic difference was age at referral. Cross-national differences in factors that might influence referral patterns are discussed.

gender identity disorder Child Behavior Checklist behavior problems social competence peer relations