Decsribe and evaluate gender dysphoria

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Sadhia Malik Psychology Essay
Discuss research on gender dysphoria (8+ 16 Marks)
Gender dysphoria refers to a person's gender identity disorder, this is a condition in
which people are uncomfortable with the gender they have been assigned, this potentially
could lead to transexualism. This essay will look at gender dysphoria in further detail,
from the psychosocial and biological explanations.
This disorder affects 1 in 4000 of the British population. Most of them are males,
mismatched between psychology and biology known as the psychiatric disorder. Coates
et al explains this through the psychodynamic approach of childhood trauma. He
conducted a case study on a boy who developed GID, and explained it as a defensive
reaction to his mother's depression following an abortion when he was three. He
suggested that the trauma may have led to a cross gender fantasy. There is subsidiary
evidence for gender dysphoria by the same person Coates et al, they produced a case
history of a boy who had developed GID, he showed maladaptive behavioural reactions to
his mother having an abortion. Coates suggested that the trauma may have led to a
crossgender fantasy as a mean of resolving the resulting trauma. This suggests that it is
the nurture that affects the child's crossgender and not nature.
Another theory suggested by Stoller (1975) proposed that GID results from distorted
parental attitudes. This leads to greater female identification and confused gender
identity. This is similar to Coates et al study as both indicate that the cross gender was
caused by trauma.
There is supporting evidence for gender dysphoria by Lorenz, who conducted an animal
research experiment on baby chicks and found they would attach to them if they saw him
in their first few hours straight after birth. This supports the idea that nurture plays a part.
There is a supporting study for gender dysphoria by Zucker (1996) He performed a
longitudinal study of females 23 years old with dysphoria. When they were 18 only
12% was still suffering from the condition. In males only 20% remained dysphorics by
the time they was 18. This shows that dysphoria may be reversible and more likely to be
psychological than biological. But there are several disadvantages of the studies both
are reductionists, as they do not explain the complex view point of gender dysphoria.
Also both researchers are deterministic, as they try to prove their theory in simple cause
and effects.
The outcome of the researchers has social consequences for individual's representations
shown by the research, making them both socially sensitive because they do not consider
ethical issues. The nature and nurture debate needed to be taken account of but in the
research stated above only the biological side is taken account of. But there is one
question that arises and that is `Can we actually rely on the evidence given, because there
is no evidence contradicting the theories? non falsifiable. Finally the biosocial theory
is not taken account of (reductionist), both the biological and social influences should
have been taken account of only then would the evidence have been reliable.
The biological explanations include the brain sex theory which states that based on the
facts males and females brains are different and possibly for transsexuals. One region of
the brain has been studied the BSTc, (located in the thalamus). On average it is thought
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Sadhia Malik Psychology Essay
that the BSTc is twice as large in heterosexual men as women and therefore contains
twice the number of neurons. Another theory transsexual gene, this is a more recent
study carried out by Hare et al in 2009, he looked at the DNA of 12 MtF transsexuals
and fount that they were more likely to have a longer version of the androgen receptors
gene than in a normal sample.…read more

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