Concordia University Researchers have confirmed that children born with DSD (disorders of sex development) face both, physical and mental health problems.
Studying The Effects Of DSD
‘Disorders of sex development’ encompasses various conditions, including physical malformations of the genitalia and hormonal problems such as complete androgen insensitivity syndrome. These factors result in a strange phenomenon where the body is genetically male but physically female.
In a recent paper published in the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research, Psychology Professor William M. Bukowski, along with co-authors Elizabeth McCauley and Thomas Mazur studied the potential effects of sexual development disorders and the relationships of children and adolescents. Based on reviews of previous researches that explored similar associations, the paper states the importance of peer relationships for developing self-concept and confidence.
The study further observes ways in which individuals are affected with DSD, how they are at a physical and mental disadvantage, and how they feel separate from their peers.
Helping Individuals Manage
According to Bukowski, one positive initiative could be spreading public awareness regarding the physical body, such as the genitalia. “For someone to say ‘I’m not like other people’ – no one is like other people! There’s an enormous variability. This is something young people should be more aware of”.
Another step could be to provide practical support to these individuals – coping mechanism for people affected with DSD. An example could be having separate stalls or locker rooms where children can change and shower privately.
Support groups for sharing information and experiences can be an extremely helpful prospect as well. People can get to know one another; Bukowski says that the use of social media had made this much easier and less challenging.
Further Research Needed
In their paper, Bukowski and colleagues concluded that scholarly research is still needed in this area. They suggested possible directions for future studies, such as a long-term investigation that would follow individuals with DSD and observe factors that promote and discourage feelings of similarity and belongingness.