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What about the family in youth gender diversity? A literature review

Westwater, JJ, Riley, EA and Peterson, GM ORCID: 0000-0002-6764-3882 2019 , 'What about the family in youth gender diversity? A literature review' , International Journal of Transgenderism, vol. 20 , pp. 351-370 , doi:

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Background: Previous research has suggested that gender diversity affects everyone in the family, with positive mental health and global outcomes for gender diverse youth reliant on receiving adequate family support and validation. Although the individual mental health, treatment and outcomes for gender diverse youth have received recent research attention, much less is known about a family perspective. Hence, a review of the literature exploring youth gender diversity from a family perspective is warranted.Aims: To systematically identify, appraise and summarize all published literature primarily exploring gender diversity in young people under the age of 18 years, as well as selected literature pertaining to a family understanding.Methods: Six electronic databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, SCOPUS, Web of Science) were searched for relevant literature pertaining to youth under the age of 18 years.Results: Research evidence was consistently found to support the beneficial effects of a supportive family system for youth experiencing gender diversity, and a systemic understanding and approach for professionals. Conversely, lack of family support was found to lead to poorer mental health and adverse life outcomes. Few articles explored the experience of siblings under the age of 18 years.Discussion: This literature review is the first to critically evaluate and summarize all published studies which adopted a family understanding of youth gender diversity. The review highlighted a lack of current research and the need for further targeted research, which utilizes a systemic clinical approach to guide support for gender diverse youth and family members.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Westwater, JJ and Riley, EA and Peterson, GM
Keywords: gender diversity, youth, family, sibling, parent, mental health, support
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Transgenderism
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc.
ISSN: 2689-5269
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

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