Gender Variance and PsychologicalWell-being in Chinese Community Children

Wang Ivy Wong, Anna I. R. van der Miesen, Sylvia Yun Shi, Cho Lam Ngan, Hoi Ching Lei, Janice Sin Yu Leung, Doug P. VanderLaan

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Childhood gender variance (GV) and its association with psychological well-being have garnered increasing interest recently but little is known about children from the community and non-Western samples. Therefore, we examined GV and its associations with psychological well-being in a Chinese community sample where study of childhood GV is extremely rare. Parents of 461 Chinese children aged 4–12 years (243 birthassigned males) provided information on GV using the Gender Identity Questionnaire for Children (GIQC) and on psychological well-being. Children assigned female at birth (girls) were more gender-variant than children assigned male at birth (boys). In boys, higher GV correlated with lower happiness, lower selfworth, more behavior problems, and poorer peer relations. In boys, controlling for demographic covariates and adding peer relations as an independent variable, poorer peer relations also independently associated with lower happiness, lower self-worth, and more problem behaviors, and GV still associated with lower happiness and self-worth. In girls, GV minimally associated with psychological well-being but poorer peer relations associated with lower happiness, lower self-worth, and more problem behaviors. Peer relations did not moderate any effect of GVon psychological well-being. The GIQC demonstrated potential as a measurement tool outsideWestern contexts. Chinese boys who exhibit GV appear to face similar psychological well-being challenges as theirWestern counterparts. However, factors that moderate the association between GV and psychological well-being have yet to be identified in this population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Early online date2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


  • Chinese
  • childhood
  • gender variance and diversity
  • psychological well-being
  • transgender

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