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Scientists respond to resurfaced 1991 study on Borderline Personality Disorder in mothers of transgender boys

A resurfaced 1991 study that examines the mothers of boys and their gender identity has been making the rounds on social media with pundits and influencers on all sides weighing in on it. 

The study, “Mothers of Boys with Gender Identity Disorder: A Comparison of Matched Controls,” was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry by Dr. Sonia Marantz and Dr. Susan Coates. 

The women interviewed 16 mothers of boys with GID, or gender dysphoria — a person whose gender identity doesn’t match their assigned sex — and 17 mothers of boys without it. The study concluded that 53% of mothers of sons with GID qualified as having Borderline Personality Disorder. 

When asked recently about the possibilities of reproducing the study in today’s climate of acceptance, activism and social media saturation, two psychiatric scientists offered their insight. 

“If the study were conducted today, I would expect the effects would be much weaker due to the cases coming from so many different socially manufactured sources,” Mather, a writer and columnist for Psychology Today, told Fox News Digital. “I would expect that any effect of the role of the mother’s psychology would be difficult to see due to the increased statistical noise. 

“However, it is also possible that if the symbiosis account proposed by Morantz and Coates is true that the effect could be strengthened in a replication of the study in today’s climate.” 

'Gender a social construct' poster

A protester holds a cardboard poster reading, ‘Science Teachers Know Gender Is a Social Construct’ during a Black Trans Lives Matter rally in New York, N.Y., Sept. 19, 2022. (Ohn Nacion/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, File)

Concerns over transgenderism have erupted in recent years as instances of it being promoted within schools and in sports have come to light. A recent Pride event held at the White House saw multiple transgender activists display their breasts and surgery scars with children present. 

A trans flag on a wall

Transgender Pride flag with the slogan “Trans Lives Matter.” (Mike Kemp/Getty Contributor, File)

Silander said that while belonging to a sexual minority identity today may carry clout, psychologically unwell parents might be more susceptible to the notion.

“Having a sexual minority identity appears to be a social currency or means for status. Psychologically unwell parents may be more susceptible, than psychologically well parents, to pursue this gender minority status to the negation of considering other factors that contribute to gender dysphoria or the superficiality or transience of gender-nonconforming habits or preferences,” Silander said. 


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