How Defined Is Gender Identity in People with Body Integrity Dysphoria?

Charleen Scupin; Thomas Schnell, PhD; Erich Kasten, PhD



Objective • Body integrity dysphoria (BID) is an intense need/desire to live in a disabled body, particularly due to a limb amputation or paraplegia. The investigators observed that significantly more people affected by BID wish to change their gender compared with the average population. The aim of this study was to find out whether gender identity (ie, typical male or female behavior) was less pronounced in a group of participants with BID than in a parallel control group of non-BID participants. The central hypothesis was that individuals in the BID group have a weak identification with their innate gender compared with the non-BID group and act more gender-neutral or contrary to their innate gender.

Methods • Study participants included 25 female and 25 male individuals with BID in the BID group and
25 female and 25 male individuals in a parallel control group.

Results • Compared with the control group, in the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test, males with BID leaned more towards female, and females with BID leaned more toward typical male behavior. In addition, 8% of the BID group and 0% of the control group achieved the cut-off value on a test for gender dysphoria (GD). This result supports the hypothesis that BID-affected participants showed more gender-neutral behavior than the control participants.

Conclusions • The results indicate that gender identity in the BID group is not as defined as in the control group. These results indicate a comprehensive disruption of identification with one’s own body, which is not limited to legs or arms, but also affects the gender identity of many affected individuals. (Adv Mind Body Med. 2020;35(3):4-9.)

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