Behavior Genetics

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 251–257 | Cite as

The Heritability of Gender Identity Disorder in a Child and Adolescent Twin Sample

  • Frederick L. Coolidge
  • Linda L. Thede
  • Susan E. Young


The heritability and prevalence of the gender identity disorder (GID) was examined, as well as its comorbidity with separation anxiety and depression, in a nonretrospective study of child and adolescent twins. The parents of 314 twins (ages 4–17 years; 96 monozygotic pairs [MZ] and 61 dizygotic [DZ] pairs) completed the Coolidge Personality and Neuropsychological Inventory (CPNI) containing a six-item DSM-IV-based GID scale. Prevalence of clinically significant GID symptomatology in the twin sample was estimated to be 2.3%. Univariate model fitting analyses were conducted using an ordinal transformation of the GID scale. The model that best described the data included a significant additive genetic component accounting for 62% of the variance and a nonshared environmental component accounting for the remaining 38% of the variance. Results suggested no heterogeneity in the parameter estimates resulting from age. The correlation between GID and depression was modest, but significant (r = .20; P < .05), whereas the correlation between GID and separation anxiety was nonsignificant (P > .05). Overall, the results support the hypothesis that there is a strong heritable component to GID. The findings may also imply that gender identity may be much less a matter of choice and much more a matter of biology.

Gender identity disorder child and adolescent twins heritability nonretrospective design 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick L. Coolidge
    • 1
  • Linda L. Thede
    • 1
  • Susan E. Young
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Colorado at Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Behavioral GeneticsUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

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