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The sociologist who pointed out a coding error in a famous "gay stigma" study is highlighting the inflated interpretations of data on the benefits of surgeries on transgender-identifying men and women.
In an essay in the Public Discourse, Mark Regnerus, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas-Austin, unpacked the analysis from a study published last month in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Study - Reduction - Mental - Health - Treatment
The study, titled "Reduction in Mental Health Treatment Utilization Among Transgender Individuals After Gender-Affirming Surgeries: A Total Population Study," argued in its conclusion that “gender-affirming” surgery is linked with decreased demand for subsequent mental health treatment in a sample of people that have been diagnosed with “gender incongruence.”
The study declares: "In this first total population study of transgender individuals with a gender incongruence diagnosis, the longitudinal association between gender-affirming surgery and reduced likelihood of mental health treatment lends support to the decision to provide gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek them."
Researchers - Data - Swedes - Gender - Reassignment
Researchers examined data from over 1,000 Swedes who had undergone gender reassignment surgical procedures, and the data and methods used in the study were sound, Regnerus explained.
Yet it is the scholarly interpretation of the results, particularly those related to surgical interventions on trans-identified persons, that are "remarkably out of step with the far more modest conclusions they merit," he said.
Interpretation - Truthful - Mass - Media
Such interpretation has been widely parroted as truthful in mass media.
The study found no statistically significant mental health benefits for hormonal interventions in the population of self-identified transgender individuals, the sociologist noted.
Fact - Confidence - Intervals - Effect - Treatment
"In fact, the confidence intervals actually reveal a nearly significant aggravating effect of hormonal treatment on subsequent mental health needs," he said.
The authors of the study did, however, find a statistically significant effect of time since the last "gender-affirming" surgery on reduced mental health treatment. Yet those results hinge on an extremely small group of people.
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