Psychosocial well-being in Dutch adults with disorders of sex development

Nita G.M. de Neve-Enthoven, Nina Callens, Maaike van Kuyk, Jet H. van Kuppenveld, Stenvert L.S. Drop, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Arianne B. Dessens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Atypical sex development is associated with psychosocial vulnerability. We investigated psychosocial well-being in individuals with disorders of sex development (DSD) and hypothesized that psychosocial well-being was related to degree of genital atypicality at birth. Methods: 120 male (n = 16) and female (n = 104) persons with DSD, aged 14-60 years, participated in a follow-up audit on psychosocial well-being. They were stratified in: women with 1) 46,XY and female genitalia, 2) 46,XY or 46,XX and atypical genitalia, and 3) men with 46,XY and atypical genitalia. We used the Illness Cognition Questionnaire (ICQ), Checklist Individual Strength (CIS8R), TNO-AZL Quality of Life questionnaire (TAAQOL), Adult Self-Report (ASR), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). Results: Data were compared to reference groups. Participants generally were coping well with DSD (ICQ). Women with DSD reported elevated levels of fatigue (CIS8R) and slightly more attention and memory problems (TAAQOL, ASR). Women with atypical genitalia reported more emotional and behavioral problems. On the ASR Rule-breaking Behavior and Antisocial Personality scales, these women had similar scores as reference men. Women with DSD reported a higher self-esteem (RSES). No differences in psychosocial well-being were found between men with DSD and reference men. Conclusion: Individuals with DSD across all diagnostic groups generally reported a good psychosocial well-being. The results further suggest involvement of prenatal androgens in the development of personality traits related to assertiveness and egocentricity. We recommend that individuals with a DSD and their families are involved in decision-making processes and have access to multidisciplinary care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of psychosomatic research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Disorders of sex development (DSD)
  • Emotional problems
  • Fatigue
  • Health related quality of life
  • Psychosocial well-being
  • Self-esteem

Cite this