The emotional well-being of mothers of transgender and gender non-conforming children
Allen, Samuel H.
Leslie, Leigh A
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In recent years, mental health professionals have reported an upsurge in the number of referrals relating to transgender identities among children. While controversies exist among clinicians over treatment for these children, a growing number of practitioners are encouraging parents to accept their children's gender expressions. This practice, however, may be challenging for parents to embrace for a number of reasons, resulting in a vulnerable mental state. Using a combined theoretical framework of decentering heteronormativity within Meyer's minority stress theory (2003), the present study seeks to determine the association between various factors--gender non conformity, gender role beliefs, and child misbehavior--and the anxiety and depression in mothers of transgender and gender non-conforming children. Data were taken from Wave 1 of a longitudinal study of transgender and gender non-conforming children and their parents. Results indicated that only child misbehavior was significantly associated with maternal anxiety, and social support did not moderate this relationship. Complete findings and their implications are discussed, for both future research and further deconstruction of gender in the social sciences.