Current Psychiatry Reports

, 20:110 | Cite as

Gender-Affirming Hormone Use in Transgender Individuals: Impact on Behavioral Health and Cognition

  • Hillary B. Nguyen
  • Alexis M. Chavez
  • Emily Lipner
  • Liisa Hantsoo
  • Sara L. Kornfield
  • Robert D. Davies
  • C. Neill EppersonEmail author
Sex and Gender Issues in Behavioral Health (CN Epperson and L Hantsoo, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sex and Gender Issues in Behavioral Health


Purpose of Review

With increasing numbers of transgender and gender non-binary individuals presenting for care, knowing how to elucidate the mental health and cognitive outcomes of gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) is necessary. This article reviews the present literature covering GAHT effects on mood, behavioral health, and cognition in these individuals and offers research priorities to address knowledge gaps.

Recent Findings

Although there are some conflicting data, GAHT overwhelmingly seems to have positive psychological effects in both adolescents and adults. Research tends to support that GAHT reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, lowers perceived and social distress, and improves quality of life and self-esteem in both male-to-female and female-to-male transgender individuals.


Clinically, prescribing GAHT can help with gender dysphoria-related mental distress. Thus, timely hormonal intervention represents a crucial tool for improving behavioral wellness in transgender individuals, though effects on cognitive processes fundamental for daily living are unknown. Future research should prioritize better understanding of how GAHT may affect executive functioning.


Transgender Gender Sex Gender-affirming hormone therapy Mood Behavioral health Cognition 



The editors would like to thank Dr. Bradley Gaynes for taking the time to review this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Hillary B. Nguyen, Alexis M. Chavez, Emily Lipner, Liisa Hantsoo, Sara L. Kornfield, Robert D. Davies, and C. Neill Epperson declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hillary B. Nguyen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Alexis M. Chavez
    • 4
  • Emily Lipner
    • 2
    • 3
  • Liisa Hantsoo
    • 3
  • Sara L. Kornfield
    • 3
  • Robert D. Davies
    • 4
  • C. Neill Epperson
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Arts and SciencesUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Penn PROMOTES Research on Sex and Gender in HealthUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryPerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Colorado School of Medicine-Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA

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