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Natural Sciences Nonfiction Social Sciences

Effects of Testosterone Treatment and Chest Reconstruction Surgery on Mental Health and Sexuality in Female-To-Male Transgender People

By Samuel A. Davisab and S. Colton Meier, 2014

Objectives: This study examined the effects of testosterone treatment with or without chest reconstruction surgery (CRS) on mental health in female-to-male transgender people (FTMs). Methods: More than 200 FTMs completed a written survey including quan- titative scales to measure symptoms of anxiety and depression, feelings of anger, and body dissatisfaction, as well as qualitative questions assessing shifts in sexuality after the initia- tion of testosterone. Fifty-seven percent of participants were taking testosterone and 40% had undergone CRS. Results: Cross-sectional analysis using a between-subjects multivariate analysis of variance showed that participants who were receiving testosterone endorsed fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as less anger than the untreated group. Partic- ipants who had CRS in addition to testosterone reported less body dissatisfaction than both the testosterone-only or the untreated groups. Furthermore, participants who were injecting testosterone on a weekly basis showed significantly less anger compared with those injecting every other week. In qualitative reports, more than 50% of participants described increased sexual attraction to nontransgender men after taking testosterone. Conclusions: Results indi- cate that testosterone treatment in FTMs is associated with a positive effect on mental health on measures of depression, anxiety, and anger, while CRS appears to be more important for the alleviation of body dissatisfaction. The findings have particular relevance for counselors and health care providers serving FTM and gender-variant people considering medical gender transition.

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