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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1995;20(7):693-709.

Gender development in boys born with hypospadias.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York at Buffalo, USA.


Fetal testicular androgens in several mammalian species are responsible for the sexual differentiation of both the genitalia and the brain, the latter effect being related to behavioral sex-dimorphisms. Because prenatal endocrine abnormalities can be inferred from genital defects, studies of individuals born with anomalies potentially elucidate the contribution of androgens to the development of gender-related variation in human behavior. This study concerns the gender-role behavior of middle childhood boys (ages 6-10 years; n = 175) born with hypospadias, an androgen-related genital anomaly. Parents completed standardized gender behavior questionnaires in a postal survey. Hypospadias subjects did not show consistent differences from a community control group (n = 333) in feminine behavior, but significant, small, increases in masculine behavior were found. Severity of the hypospadias was unrelated to gender-role behavior. A number of surgery-related hospitalizations, however, were correlated with increased gender-atypical behavior. It is concluded that the hypoandrogenization associated with hypospadias does not interfere with the development of gender-typical masculine behavior.

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