Does Gender Identity Influence Children's Psychological Well-Being?

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This study examined influences of gender identity on change in preadolescents' adjustment over time. In each of two successive years, three measures of gender identity (felt gender typicality, contentment with gender assignment, and felt pressure for gender conformity) and four measures of adjustment (self-esteem, internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and acceptance by peers) were collected. Low gender typicality, low gender contentedness, and high felt pressure all foreshadowed deterioration on one or more indexes of adjustment. The combination of low gender typicality with high felt pressure was especially conducive to internalizing problems, underscoring the importance of the cognitive organization of the gender identity variables. The advantages of a multidimensional perspective on gender identity are discussed.

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