To provide an overview of the existing literature on gender diversity in pediatric acute and chronic pain, propose an ecological systems model of understanding pain in transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) youth, and identify a direction for future work that will address the key knowledge gaps identified.
Relevant literature on pain and gender diversity was reviewed, drawing from adult literature where there was insufficient evidence in pediatric populations. Existing relevant models for understanding minority stress, gender and pain, and pain experiences within marginalized groups were considered with the reviewed literature to develop a pain model in TGD youth.
While there is an abundance of literature pointing to increased risk for pain experiences amongst TGD youth, there is comparably little empirical evidence of the rates of pain amongst TGD youth, prevalence of TGD identities in pain care settings, effective pain treatments for TGD youth and unique considerations for their care, and the role intersectional factors in understanding TGD youth identities and pain.
Pediatric psychologists are well-positioned to advance the research on acute and chronic pain in TGD youth, make evidence-based adaptations to clinical care for TGD youth with pain, including pain related to gender affirmation, and support colleagues within the medical system to provide more inclusive care.