Experiences of Puberty and Puberty Blockers: Insights From Trans Children, Trans Adolescents, and Their Parents

Horton, Cal. 2024. Experiences of Puberty and Puberty Blockers: Insights From Trans Children, Trans Adolescents, and Their Parents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 39(1), pp. 77-103. ISSN 0743-5584 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This research explored experiences of transgender children and their families approaching and into adolescence, understanding experiences relating to puberty and puberty blocking medication. Data were drawn from 30 parents of 30 trans children and adolescents who at time of interview, were an average age of 11 years old. Parental interviewees were 90% white, 93% female, 100% cis, 60% heterosexual. Additional data were drawn from 10 trans children and adolescents, average age 12 years old. Interviews were held remotely, with families from across the UK. Rich qualitative interviews, averaging 2 hours for parents, and 25 minutes for children, covered aspects of family life, healthcare, and education. This article examined a sub-set of data on trans children and adolescents’ experiences of puberty, and of accessing, or trying to access, puberty blockers. Research received ethical approval from the author’s university. Data were analyzed through inductive reflexive thematic analysis. Three major themes are presented, relating to pre-pubertal anxiety; difficulties accessing blockers; and, for a minority who were on blockers, experiences of relief and frustration. The research has significant relevance for families, for healthcare professionals and policymakers, and for all seeking to protect trans adolescent mental health and well-being.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



transgender, adolescents, puberty, parents, well-being, mental health

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


25 April 2022Accepted
8 June 2022Published Online
January 2024Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Jun 2022 09:15

Last Modified:

08 Jan 2024 13:16

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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