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Voice And Gender Incongruence: Relationship Between Vocal Self-Perception And Mental Health Of Trans Women

Published:October 24, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2020.10.002

      Objective

      To verify the association between vocal perception and Common Mental Disorders (CMD) suspicion in trans women.

      Methods

      Cross-sectional observational study including 24 adult trans women with a minimum time of presentation as a woman of six months. The sampling of the subjects was supported by the “Snowball" technique. Three questionnaires were applied for data collection: sociodemographic and health data, Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20) and Trans Woman Voice Questionnaire (TWVQ). The sociodemographic and health data collected were: age, marital status, education, smoking habits, speech therapy, use of hormones, and whether they had undergone Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRG). SRQ-20 was used for suspicion of CMD evaluation, such as depressive and anxiety symptoms. TWVQ is a vocal self-report questionnaire for trans women living the full-time gender role in which they self-identify. TWVQ has a minimum score of 30 points and a maximum of 120 points. Higher scores are associated with perceptions of a higher frequency of voice-related difficulties and psychosocial impacts. For statistical analysis, data were analyzed descriptively and statistically using Fisher's and Mann-Whitney's exact tests, both with a significance level of 5%.

      Results

      The average participants’ age in this study was 28.2 years old (SD = 6.5 / minimum = 21 and maximum = 48); 83.3% were single; most (41.7%) were high school graduates; and most (95.83%) had not undergone Sex Reassignment Surgery. All subjects reported using hormones; 37.5% were smokers; 4.2% had undergone speech therapy; and the average number of years of experience in the female role was 8.8 years (SD = 7.2). The average TWVQ score was 55.4 points (SD = 4.3). Through SRQ-20, it was verified the prevalence of suspected CMD in 58.3% of the participants. The study results indicated that communicative dissatisfaction in trans women due to inconsistent voice with the recognized gender is associated with probable CMD such as depression and anxiety (P= 0.001).

      Conclusion

      Trans women who reported greater difficulties and voice-related effects in their lives had more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Although more research is needed, results indicate the need for inter-professional preventive and therapeutic actions directed towards assisting trans women. This fact encourages reflection on the care of this population and the role of health professionals, enhancing scientific production, clinical practice and the inclusion of the “transsexuality” theme in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences.

      Key Words

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