Female and Male Transgender Quality of Life: Socioeconomic and Medical Differences.

Published: December 21, 2011


Introduction.  Studies show a positive impact of gender reassignment treatment on the quality of life (QOL) of transgender persons, but little is known about the influence of their socioeconomic status. Aim.  First, to assess health-related QOL of transgender men and women and compare it with a general population sample, second, to investigate the differences between transgender men and transgender women, and third, to analyze how their levels of QOL differ according to socioeconomic and transition data. Methods.  One hundred forty-eight current and former transgender patients of a gender identity clinic participated in a large QOL study. Main Outcomes Measures.  Health-related QOL was measured using the Short Form 36-Item Questionnaire. Results.  The QOL of transgender women did not differ significantly from the general Dutch female population, although transgender men showed reduced mental health-related QOL compared with the general Dutch male sample. Transgender women had a lower QOL than transgender men for the subscales physical functioning and general health, but better QOL for bodily pain. Time since start of hormone use was positively associated for transgender women with subscales bodily pain and general health, and negatively associated for transgender men with the subscale role limitations due to physical health problems. There was no significant difference in QOL between the group who had undergone genital surgery or surgical breast augmentation and the group who did not have these surgeries. Transgender men with an erection prosthesis scored significantly better on the subscales vitality and (at trend level) on role limitations due to emotional problems. A series of univariate analyses revealed significantly lower QOL scores for transgender persons that were older, low educated, unemployed, had a low household income, and were single. Conclusions.  Specific social indicators are important in relation to health-related QOL of transgenders in a context of qualitative and adequate medical care. Motmans J, Meier P, Ponnet K, and T’Sjoen G. Female and male transgender quality of life: Socioeconomic and medical differences.

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