What is gender identity disorder?
Characterised by strong feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned sex. People with GID desire to live as members of the opposite sex and often dress and use mannerisms associated with the opposite gender.
What are the two MAIN explanations of GID?
Biological and Social-Psychological
What are the two biological explanations of GID?
Brain sex theory and genetic factors
What is Brain Sex Theory?
It suggests that GID is caused by specific bran structure that are incompatible with a person’s biological sex, in particular dimorphic areas.
Who researched into Brain Sex Theory?
He studied the BSTc which is assumed to be fully developed at 5 and around 40% larger in males.
In post-mortem studies of 6 male-to-female transgender individuals, the BSTc was found to be a similar size to that of a typical female brain.
Who researched into genetic factors and GID?
He assessed 157 twin pairs MZ and DZ for evidence of GID using clinical diagnosis of criteria in DSM-4.
The prevalence of GID was found to be 2.3% with 62% of these cases accounted for by genetic variance. This suggests there is a strong heritable component to GID
What are the social-psychological explanations of GID?
Psychoanalytic theory and Cognitive explanation
What is psychoanalytic theory into GID?
Ovesey and Person have argued that GID in males is cause by extreme separation anxiety before gender identity has been established.
The child fantasies of a symbiotic fusion with the mother to relieve anxiety and the danger of separation is removed.
The consequence is that the child becomes the mother and thus adopts a female gender identity.
What is the cognitive explanation of GID?
Liben and Bigler proposed the dual pathway theory.
First = acknowledgment of gender schema which then direct gender-appropriate attitudes and behaviour.
Second = the individuals personal interests become more dominant than the gender identity, and in turn influence gender schema.
What is the evaluation for atypical gender development?
Contradictory evidence for BSTc
Twin studies are inconclusive
Biological explanations oversimplify
Issues with cognitive theory
Evaluation point for atypical gender development: Contradictory evidence for BSTc
It is claimed that the BSTc is fully formed at age 5 so any hormone treatment that transgender individuals undergo as part of surgery should not have a bearing on the BSTc. But it has been found that transgender hormone therapy did affect the size of the BSTc. Therefore observed differences in the BStc may be due to hormone therapy rather than being a cause of GID.
Evaluation point for atypical gender development: Twin studies are inconclusive
Not only do twin studies in this area not produce high concordance rates, it is also very difficult to separate the influence of nature versus nurture. Twins may influence each other and the environmental conditions they are exposed to are very similar.
Also GID occurs so rarely that sample sizes in twin studies tend to be extremely small, limiting the extent to which effective generalisations can be made.
Evaluation point for atypical gender development: Biological explanations oversimplify
Biological explanations often reduce complex conditions and behaviours to a simpler genetic explanation. Other contributory factors occurring at a higher psychological or social level may be ignored.
An interactionist combination may be especially relevant in the case of GID.
Evaluation point for atypical gender development: Issues with cognitive theory
Liben and Bigler’s theory is descriptive rather than explanatory. There is very little explanation of why a child may become interested in activities that are not consistent with its sex or how these result in non sex-typed schema. It simply describes the effect of GID rather than explaining its causes.