Psychological distress among transgender people in Brazil: frequency, intensity and social causation - an ICD-11 field study

Braz J Psychiatry. 2019 Jul-Aug;41(4):310-315. doi: 10.1590/1516-4446-2018-0052. Epub 2019 Mar 7.


Objective: To describe self-reported experiences of gender incongruence related to discomfort and body changes to be more congruent to the desired gender, and to examine whether experiences of psychological distress related to gender identity were more strongly related to the experience of gender incongruence per se or to experiences of social rejection.

Methods: This field study used a structured interview design in a purposive sample of transgender adults (aged >18 years or older) receiving health-care services in two main reference centers in Brazil.

Results: A high proportion of participants (90.3%, n=93) reported experiencing psychological distress related to their gender identity and report having experienced social rejection related to their gender identity during the interview index period and that rejection by friends was the only significant predictor for psychological distress.

Conclusions: Gender incongruence variables were not significant predictors of distress. This result supports the recent changes proposed by the Word Health Organization in ICD-11 to move transgender conditions from the Mental and Behavioral Disorders chapter to a new chapter on Sexual Disorders and Conditions Related to Sexual Health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brazil
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Report
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Transsexualism
  • Young Adult