Associations Between Transition-Specific Stress Experience, Nocturnal Decline in Ambulatory Blood Pressure, and C-Reactive Protein Levels Among Transgender Men, L. Zachary Dubois, Am. J. Hum. Biol. 24 (2012)

Research and Journal Articles

This study examines physiological manifestations of stress associated with the process of transitioning among transgender men. The goal of the study was to document the physical impacts of psychosocial stress during various stages of transition from female-to-male.

Sixty-five healthy transmen who were using testosterone (T) therapy participated in interviews to assess their experiences of transition-specific stress. The interviews evaluated perceived stress and self-esteem, and also measured physical indicators of stress such as blood pressure and protein levels.

The study found that transmen in the early stages of transition who reported stress associated with being "out" experienced significant physiological effects in terms of blood pressure. Transmen in the middle to later stages of transitioning who reported stress related to "passing" (as having been assigned a male sex at birth) demonstrated significantly higher levels of C-reactive protein levels, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease.

The results suggest that some physiological impacts related to stress are significant for transmen at different stages of transition, but that stress related to transitioning tends to decline over time. The author also notes that when study participants were asked if they felt that transitioning was "the right thing for them to do," 100% responded yes without qualification.