A national study on the physical and mental health of intersex adults in the U.S.

Amy Rosenwohl-Mack, Suegee Tamar-Mattis, Arlene B. Baratz, Katharine B. Dalke, Alesdair Ittelson, Kimberly Zieselman, Jason D. Flatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objectives To describe the health of intersex adults (people with differences of sex development) in the U.S. using community-based research methods. Methods In July-September 2018, we conducted a national health study of intersex adults aged 18 and older in the U.S., using a survey hosted on Qualtrics. The study describes the physical and mental health experiences of intersex adults, including differences by age (18 to 39 vs. 40 and older). Questions were derived from national (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) and intersex-related health studies. Results A non-probability sample of 198 intersex adults completed the survey over three months. Over 43% of participants rated their physical health as fair/poor and 53% reported fair/poor mental health. Prevalent health diagnoses included depression, anxiety, arthritis, and hypertension, with significant differences by age. Nearly a third reported difficulty with everyday tasks and over half reported serious difficulties with cognitive tasks. Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first national study of intersex adults in the U.S. Greater understanding of intersex health over the life course is essential. Findings highlight the need for longitudinal studies and further examination of potential health disparities experienced by intersex populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0240088
JournalPloS one
Issue number10 October
StatePublished - Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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