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J Appl Behav Anal. 1974 Summer;7(2):173-90.

Behavioral treatment of deviant sex-role behaviors in a male child.

Abstract

This study demonstrated reinforcement control over pronounced feminine behaviors in a male child who had been psychologically evaluated as manifesting "childhood cross-gender identity". The clinical history of the subject paralleled the retrospective reports of adult transsexuals, including (a) cross-gender clothing preferences, (b) actual or imaginal use of cosmetic articles, (c) feminine behavior mannerisms, (d) aversion to masculine activities, coupled with preference for girl playmates and feminine activities, (e) preference for female role, (f) feminine voice inflection and predominantly feminine content in speech, and (g) verbal statements about the desire or preference to be a girl. The subject was treated sequentially in the clinic and home environments by his mother, trained to be his therapist. The mother was taught to reinforce masculine behaviors and to extinguish feminine behaviors, by using social reinforcement in the clinic and a token reinforcement procedure in the home. During this treatment, his feminine behaviors sharply decreased and masculine behavior increased. The treatment effects were found to be largely response-specific and stimulus-specific; consequently, it was necessary to strengthen more than one masculine behavior and weaken several feminine behaviors, in both clinic and home settings. A multiple-baseline intrasubject design was used to ensure both replication and identification of relevant treatment variables. Follow-up data three years after the treatment began suggests that the boy's sex-typed behaviors have become normalized. This study suggests a preliminary step toward correcting pathological sex-role development in boys, which may provide a basis for the primary prevention of adult transsexualism or similar adult sex-role deviation.

PMID:
4436165
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1311956
Free PMC Article
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