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Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Jun;41(3):541-9. doi: 10.1007/s10508-011-9777-6. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Sibling sex ratio and birth order in early-onset gender dysphoric adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Several sibship-related variables have been studied extensively in sexual orientation research, especially in men. Sibling sex ratio refers to the ratio of brothers to sisters in the aggregate sibships of a group of probands. Birth order refers to the probands' position (e.g., first-born, middle-born, last-born) within their sibships. Fraternal birth order refers to their position among male siblings only. Such research was extended in this study to a large group of early-onset gender dysphoric adolescents. The probands comprised 94 male-to-female and 95 female-to-male gender dysphoric adolescents. The overwhelming majority of these were homosexual or probably prehomosexual. The control group consisted of 875 boys and 914 girls from the TRAILS study. The sibling sex ratio of the gender dysphoric boys was very high (241 brothers per 100 sisters) compared with the expected ratio (106:100). The excess of brothers was more extreme among the probands' older siblings (300:100) than among their younger siblings (195:100). Between-groups comparisons showed that the gender dysphoric boys had significantly more older brothers, and significantly fewer older sisters and younger sisters, than did the control boys. In contrast, the only notable finding for the female groups was that the gender dysphoric girls had significantly fewer total siblings than did the control girls. The results for the male probands were consistent with prior speculations that a high fraternal birth order (i.e., an excess of older brothers) is found in all homosexual male groups, but an elevated sibling sex ratio (usually caused by an additional, smaller excess of younger brothers) is characteristic of gender dysphoric homosexual males. The mechanisms underlying these phenomena remain unknown.

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PMID:
21674256
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3338001
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