Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 99–116 | Cite as

The behavioral treatment of a “transsexual” preadolescent boy

  • George A. Rekers
  • O. Ivar Lovaas
  • Benson Low
Article

Abstract

Behavioral treatment procedures were developed to suppress feminine sex-typed behaviors and to increase masculine sex-typed behaviors in an 8-year-old boy with “childhood cross-gender identity.” The boy's clinical history paralleled the retrospective reports of adult transsexuals, including (1) feminine voice inflection and predominantly feminine content in speech, (2) verbal self-reference as “sissy” and “fag” and statements about his preference to be a girl, (3) feminine hand and arm gestures and “swishy” gait, (4) an aversion to masculine play activities, (5) a strong preference for girl playmates and taking a feminine role in play and role-playing, and (6) improvised cross-dressing. With a multiple-baseline intrasubject design across stimulus environments and across behaviors, the subject was treated sequentially in the clinic, at home, and in the school. The boy's mother was trained to administer a token economy program in the home, and the school teacher was taught to apply a response-cost procedure in the classroom. The initial treatment effects were found to be largely response specific and stimulus specific, necessitating treatment for a number of behaviors in the three major environments. Followup data 12 months after treatment termination suggest that the boy's sex-typed behaviors have become essentially normalized. This treatment holds promise for correcting pathological gender identity development in boys and for relieving the associated emotional adjustment problems.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • George A. Rekers
    • 1
  • O. Ivar Lovaas
    • 1
  • Benson Low
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.UCLA Department of PsychologyLos Angeles
  3. 3.Graduate School of PsychologyFuller Theological SeminaryPasadena

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