American Journal of Psychiatry retracts claim that sex-change surgery helps patients' mental health

by Peter Heck · Aug 6th, 2020 10:30 am

Last Updated Oct 14th, 2020 at 3:40 pm

The American Journal of Psychiatry has retracted its findings from a study last fall that had claimed "sex-reassignment surgery" improves a patient's mental health. The journal now claims that the study shows no such improvement.

The authors of the original conclusion had celebrated theirs as the "first total population study of transgender individuals with a gender incongruence diagnosis" that offered support for providing "gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek them."

The Heritage Foundation's Dr. Ryan Anderson, a critic of sex-reassignment surgery, said the mistake could be simply "human error," but that the study used "biggest data set" on the topic.

"The biggest data set now shows — and that's what this study uses — the biggest data set shows that there's no benefits, psychological benefits to patients of hormonal and surgical transition," Anderson said.

He also offered an explanation for why the study originally drew a faulty conclusion.

"Human error is a possibility here," Anderson said. "But there's also the possibility that there was a preferred outcome for the study. So that they wanted the study to say a certain thing. Obviously, we don't know in this particular instance whether this was just an honest mistake or if this was motivated research, motivated reasoning to lead to a certain conclusion."

He also criticized the lack of media coverage on the study. Media coverage of the original findings was widespread, but few outlets have covered the correction.

"But we can say that the media didn't report on one of the main findings of the original study which was that hormonal transition showed no signs of improvement," Anderson said. "They only reported on the original study that said surgery transition showed signs of improvement. And now that claim has been retracted."


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