Category: Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender Issues

Symposium

The Gender Comfort Scale: Validation of a Progress Monitoring Measure for Use With Transgender Clients

Friday, November 17
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom B, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: L / G / B / T | Assessment
Presentation Type: Symposium

Ongoing assessment is a vital component of evidence-based practice to guide clinical decision making. When working with minority clients, assessment tools should be culturally-sensitive. Few measures have been developed for clinical use with transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) individuals outside of diagnostic measures, which can unintentionally stigmatize TGNC identities. The Gender Comfort Scale (GCS) was developed to be a culturally-sensitive assessment tool to monitor progress in therapy with TGNC clients rather than diagnose Gender Dysphoria. Data from qualitative interviews, single subject cases, and a quantitative validation study will be presented.


Twenty-eight TGNC individuals participated in qualitative interviews to give feedback on a preliminary draft of the GCS. Thematic coding revealed positive reactions, neutral reactions, negative reactions, and suggestions for improvements. Positive reactions included indications that the GCS would help clients organize their thoughts for discussion and gauge where they are in therapy. Negative reactions were primarily comments about language that could be stigmatizing and were usually followed by a suggestion for improvement, such as replacing “preferred gender” with “gender identity.” Feedback was used to adjust the GCS to a culturally-responsive tool with questions relevant and appropriate for TGNC experiences.


Three TGNC clients have completed the GCS during individual therapy at a clinical psychology training clinic. GCS scores throughout therapy and associations with other assessments will be presented. The paper will also report construct validity for the GCS using a large TGNC sample with measures of depression, anxiety, general stress, gender-related minority stress, gender-related fears, and greater psychological well-being and gender-related resiliency.


The GCS is a promising assessment tool for use with TGNC clients. The measure was developed in conjunction with TGNC communities to be culturally-sensitive and is expected to have good psychometric properties.

Natalie R. Holt

Graduate Student
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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