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Gender identity and transition: relationships with sleep disorders in US youth

J Clin Sleep Med. 2022 Aug 1. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.10158. Online ahead of print.


STUDY OBJECTIVES: Transgender or gender nonconforming (TGNC) identity is associated with higher burden of sleep disorders relative to cisgender identity. However, the role of gender-affirming therapy (GAT) in sleep disorders is poorly understood. This study examined relationships between TGNC identity, transition, and sleep disorders among TGNC and cisgender youth.

METHODS: This retrospective cross-sectional study utilized a large US-based administrative claims database (de-identified Optum Clinformatics Data Mart Database) to identify youth aged 12-25 years who obtained a diagnosis of TGNC identity and those who pursued GAT. Descriptive statistics estimated distributions of demographic and health characteristics by gender identity. Unadjusted and age-adjusted logistic regression models were used to examine associations between TGNC identity, GAT, and sleep disorders.

RESULTS: This study included 1,216,044 youth, of which 2,603 (0.2%) were identified as TGNC. Among the 1,387 TGNC who pursued GAT, 868 and 519 were identified as transmasculine and transfeminine, respectively. Adjusted analysis showed increased odds of insomnia (OR=5.4, 95% CI 4.7, 6.2), sleep apnea (OR=3.0, 95% CI 2.3, 4.0), and other sleep disorders (OR=3.1, 95% CI 2.5, 3.9) in TGNC relative to cisgender youth. Decreased odds of any sleep disorder were observed in the TGNC youth on GAT (OR=0.5, 95% CI 0.4, 0.7) relative to those not on GAT.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated a high burden of sleep disorders in TGNC youth in comparison to cisgender. However, GAT may confer a protective effect on sleep disorders among TGNC youth. Longitudinal assessments of sleep disorders prior to and post-GAT are needed to uncover their temporal relationships.

PMID:35912700 | DOI:10.5664/jcsm.10158

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