All-cause and suicide mortalities among adolescents and young adults who contacted specialised gender identity services in Finland in 1996-2019: a register study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: All-cause and suicide mortalities of gender-referred adolescents compared with matched controls have not been studied, and particularly the role of psychiatric morbidity in mortality is unknown. OBJECTIVE: To examine all-cause and suicide mortalities in gender-referred adolescents and the impact of psychiatric morbidity on mortality. METHODS: Finnish nationwide cohort of all <23 year-old gender-referred adolescents in 1996-2019 (n=2083) and 16 643 matched controls. Cox regression models with HRs and 95% CIs were used to analyse all-cause and suicide mortalities. FINDINGS: Of the 55 deaths in the study population, 20 (36%) were suicides. In bivariate analyses, all-cause mortality did not statistically significantly differ between gender-referred adolescents and controls (0.5% vs 0.3%); however, the proportion of suicides was higher in the gender-referred group (0.3% vs 0.1%). The all-cause mortality rate among gender-referred adolescents (controls) was 0.81 per 1000 person-years (0.40 per 1000 person-years), and the suicide mortality rate was 0.51 per 1000 person-years (0.12 per 1000 person-years). However, when specialist-level psychiatric treatment was controlled for, neither all-cause nor suicide mortality differed between the two groups: HR for all-cause mortality among gender-referred adolescents was 1.0 (95% CI 0.5 to 2.0) and for suicide mortality was 1.8 (95% CI 0.6 to 4.8). CONCLUSIONS: Clinical gender dysphoria does not appear to be predictive of all-cause nor suicide mortality when psychiatric treatment history is accounted for. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: It is of utmost importance to identify and appropriately treat mental disorders in adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria to prevent suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere300940
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ mental health
Volume27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2024
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Child & adolescent psychiatry
  • PSYCHIATRY

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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