Using the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 to screen for acute distress in transgender youth: Findings from a pediatric endocrinology clinic

Danielle N. Moyer, Kara Connelly, Amy Holley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) youth are at higher risk for anxiety and depression than their peers. The referral rate for those seeking specialty medical care has rapidly increased in recent years. This paper examines the use of brief screening tools with clear cutoffs to assist physicians in rapidly identifying TGNC youth in acute distress. A retrospective chart review was conducted for patients aged 11-18 years being treated in a pediatric endocrinology clinic for gender dysphoria. Patient Health Questionnaires for depression (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) were collected for patients attending an initial consultation (n=79) or follow-up appointment (n=115). Screener data identified high rates of acute distress, including depression (47%), anxiety (61%), and suicidal ideation (30%). Distress was not associated with age or gender identity. More youth endorsed clinically significant anxiety at initial consultation appointments versus follow-up appointments. The results support the use of the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 as brief, easy-to-use screening measures that can be administered by physicians to rapidly identify acute distress and inform treatment recommendations among TGNC youth seeking medical intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • anxiety
  • depression
  • pediatric
  • screening
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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