Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 423–441

Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES): Childhood play behavior and adult gender-role behavior in women

  • Jennifer D. Lish
  • Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg
  • Anke A. Ehrhardt
  • Bayla G. Travis
  • Norma P. Veridiano
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF01542268

Cite this article as:
Lish, J.D., Meyer-Bahlburg, H.F.L., Ehrhardt, A.A. et al. Arch Sex Behav (1992) 21: 423. doi:10.1007/BF01542268

Abstract

Data from lower mammals suggest a masculinizing or defeminizing influence of pre- or perinatal diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure on various aspects of the sex-dimorphic behavior (including juvenile rough-and-tumble play) of genetic females. However, three previous studies on childhood play and adult gender-role behavior in human females have led to ambiguous results. In a follow-up study of 60 women with prenatal exposure to DES and 26 controls, we used psychometrically well-designed multi-item scales based on self-report inventories for the assessment of these aspects of behavior. No effects of DES could be demonstrated. We conclude that, at the doses studied, prenatal DES exposure in human females has not led to behavioral masculinization or defeminization of childhood play and adult gender-role behavior.

Key words

diethylstilbestrol prenatal estrogen exposure gender-role behavior play behavior psychosexual development 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer D. Lish
    • 1
  • Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg
    • 1
  • Anke A. Ehrhardt
    • 1
  • Bayla G. Travis
    • 1
  • Norma P. Veridiano
    • 2
  1. 1.New York State Psychiatric Institute and Department of PsychiatryCollege of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyMaimonides Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

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