European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 215–221 | Cite as

Adaptation and adjustment in children of transsexual parents

  • Tonya WhiteEmail author
  • Randi Ettner


It is a relatively uncommon event that children find themselves in a situation with a parent who undergoes a transition from one sex to another. Unlike situations of divorce or a parent with a medical or major psychiatric disorder, it is unlikely that the children will know of other children who encounter similar situations. There is very little literature that describes the adjustment of these children and the nature of their relationships with their parents and peers. Such information would be beneficial for clinicians assisting children and families in this situation. To better delineate the adjustment of these children, we interviewed 27 parents of 55 children. The interview took place on average 6 years after the gender transition. The measures obtained included the parent and child relationships at present and also at the time of the transition. We also inquired about academic function, peer relationships and social stigma. The results found that children who were younger at the time of the parent’s transition tended to have better relationships and less adjustment difficulties. In addition, parental conflict that continues after the transition period tends to reflect greater family conflict between the transitioned parent and their child.


children adolescents transsexual gender identity disorder adjustment resilience 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity of Minnesota School of MedicineMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Center for Neurobehavioral DevelopmentUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.New Health FoundationEvanstonUSA

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