Support for parents/carers of primary school aged gender diverse children in England, UK: a mixed-method analysis of experiences with health services

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Abstract

This paper presents findings from a UK mixed-method study that aimed to understand parents/carers' views and experiences of support received from health services for primary school age (4–11) gender diverse children and their families. Data was collected via an e-survey including 10 open-ended questions with 75 parents/carers addressing experiences with (i) primary health services, including general practice (GP) clinics and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) (ii) specialist gender identity development services (GIDS) (iii) non-health related support including transgender groups and online resources. Findings are organised into four themes: ‘journey to health service provision', ‘view on health services used', ‘waiting' and ‘isolation’. Discourses about gender diversity, childhood and the validity of trans healthcare shape parental experiences, including their desire for better information, more certainty in healthcare pathways and more expedient access to support services to reduce anxiety, distress and isolation. The emotional costs of waiting are compounded by the material costs of accessing the limited number of specialist services. Experiences could be improved through ensuring GPs and CAMHS are better prepared, expanding access to trans-specific support groups for those caring for children and young people, and exploring the provision of school-based support for gender diverse primary-age children.

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Rickett, B., Johnson, K., Ingle, H., & Reynolds, M. (2021). Support for parents/carers of primary school aged gender diverse children in England, UK: a mixed-method analysis of experiences with health services. Health Sociology Review, 30(1), 9–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2020.1857656

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