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What are the limitations


Investigating the Relationship between the Hormone Exposure and Gender Identity during Adolescence

DeAnna Fleming

Grand Canyon University

Professor Helmholdt


May 1, 2022


The adolescence of a major stage of development of the life of a human being. It is during this stage that the transition from childhood to adulthood takes place. During this time, different changes take place in the life of the adolescents that affect their transition. In some cases, the effects have few effects while in other cases, the effects are adverse. One of the effects of this transition stage is the hormone exposure that is related to the gender identity of the adolescents. Teens of different gender go through different hormonal imbalances during this period. In this study, the exposure of effects of exposure to both male and female hormones will be explored and how they affect gender during adolescence period. During this period, the major function of the hormones is to determine the moods, emotions, and impulse reactions of teenagers. The methodology that will be used by the study is descriptive and a sampling technique will be used to determine the sample population. Questionnaires will be used to collect data from the participants.


The second stage of human life is puberty stage which comes immediately after adolescence. The stage occurs when a section of the brain that is referred to as the hypothalamus starts to produce a hormone that affects the tests for boys and the ovaries for girls which leads to an increase in the hormones that are responsible for sex. In girls, estrogen is formed while in boys, testosterone is formed. During the adolescence period, teenagers experience many social changes and behaviors (Ristori et al., 2020). One of the behavioral changes is the one related to testosterone. This leads to the development of dominance behavior. It alters the neural transmission of vasopressin that lies within the forebrain circuit. Studies have suggested that testosterone treatment only affects the behavior and gender identity in males during adolescence.

Scholars have also suggested that teen hormones determine the mood swings of teens. These experiences are caused by the fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone which determine the sexual orientations of teenagers. The hormones also play a very significant role in the way teenagers conduct themselves when it comes to matters of dating and sexuality. The purpose of this study is to determine how hormone exposure affects the gender identity of teenagers during adolescence (Hruz, 2020). By doing so, the group of young boys and girls who are going through a transition period will get the necessary support that will help them to cross from childhood to adulthood safely.

Problem statement

During the puberty stage, teens face several changes that lead to major changes to their body systems and behavior. If the teens are not well taken care of, some of them get lost in the whole process. Studies suggest that some of them fail to identify roles that come with them being either male or female. During this period, teenagers need to learn what it entails being either a boy or a girl and be supported to go be positive to the whole transition process. It is there important to ensure that the teens get training and counseling that will enable them to go through the process successfully. This is a normal process, and the teens should not be condemned for behaving abnormally just because of the development process (Moravek, 2019). The study will also ensure that all stakeholders come on board to ensure that the teens have been guaranteed support that will help them take the abnormal behavior and physical changes positively during the adolescence stage.


The study aims at investigating whether there is a relation between hormone exposure in the uterus and gender identity in adolescents. The other hypothesis that the study aims at testing is whether urine and blood contain hormones that affect gender identity during the adolescence period.


1. To investigate what hormone exposure is and how it affects adolescents.

2. To establish the relationship between hormone exposure in the uterus and gender identity in adolescents

3. To investigate how gender identity can be achieved by teens during the adolescence period.

Literature Review


Scholars have accepted the relationship between hormone exposure and gender identity during adolescence as a subject worth considering in academic research. In an article on how early hormones shape gender development, Beranbaum proposes that prenatal androgen influences sex-related characteristics to a great extent. During different periods of growth, sex hormones influence the psychological differences, which then determine the sex differences (Berenbaum & Beltz., 2016). The environment in which the adolescent lives affects the hormones within an individual, thus producing gender identity development that varies from one individual to the other. Other studies have suggested that hormones, in conjunction with different social environments, are responsible for producing trajectories in terms of gender development and clarification of mechanisms by which androgens are used to affect behavior. In early development, the hormones have time to organize the brain. Therefore depending on the environment, an individual is exposed to, they start identifying who they are, relying on the hormone responses.

Impact of Body Modification on Gender

Timothy F. Murphy, in his article, says that gender identity is influenced by body modification. He calls this an atypical gender identity because some adolescence with female-typical bodies expresses the identity of a male and vice versa (Murphy., 2019). Such identities would lead to dysphoria. Murphy suggests that most adolescents are determined to be confirmed by a specific gender. The hormones within an individual influence these modifications. The rate at which hormones like estrogen and testosterone act within adolescents varies among individuals, affecting their behavior modification. On the other hand, in the article Cross-Sex Hormones and Metabolic Parameters in Adolescents With Gender Dysphoria, Jarin says that the hormones estrogen and testosterone would lead to dysphoria due to cross-gender identification (Jarin et al., 2017). In this case, each individual would like to be associated with a specific type of gender. Gender identity develops at an early age when individuals realize who they are in line with their sexual characteristics.

Gender Identities in Adolescent Population

From the scholarly article on gender identities in the adolescent population, the writer says that adolescents are more susceptible to making choices regarding their identity (Kaltiala-Heino & Lindberg., 2019). During adolescence, individuals explore the options of identity available to them and then make commitments from there. As a result, there is a variation in identity differences because of the exploration done by the latter. The hormone estrogen plays a significant role when an individual tries to conform to various identities. Boys are more exposed and spearheaded when choosing their identities because they produce a lot of testosterone during adolescence. Androgens have facilitative characteristics in the activities related to the interests of the males and their spatial abilities, but they play very minimal roles in gender identity. A recent study tries to explain and put a lot of emphasis on the psychological mechanisms that determine the effects and neural substrates of the effects of androgen (Martinez et al., 2020). Neural substrates act on the hormone estrogen leading to an increase in its activity in the body. This makes an adolescent respond very quickly to gender identities due to the high reaction in the body.

Perceptions of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Scholars say adolescents start to experience changes that make them believe that they are grown-ups. Several studies have been performed on how the behavior and genders of teenagers change during the adolescence period. According to these studies, the behavior changes because of high levels of hormones produced in teenagers’ bodies (Porta et al., 2020). There is a need for hormone treatment and behavior therapy during adolescence because this is a time when individuals are focused more on self-identity. They go beyond realizing them just a boy or a girl and now start dealing with the characteristics that define one as male or female. Identity conformity might lead to problems in academic performance and how adolescents relate with their parents.

An article on sexual development in adolescents says that an individual’s identity and perception most drive sexuality. These sexual developments result from the hormone release that makes adolescents start to experience that attraction toward the opposite gender (Calzo & Blashill., 2018). Male adolescents are believed to be highly active in sexuality because they release the hormone testosterone at a very high rate. This hormone release makes them realize that they are different from girls, and therefore if they go near a female, their sexual feelings will be increased (Eskenazi et al., 2017). Research shows that gender identity has led to an increase in the level of immoralities in society. This is because, as adolescents continue to realize themselves, they get influenced by sex due to the increased hormonal activities in their bodies. High rates of hormone production make adolescents have that desire to have sex.

Sexuality and Gender Identity

Other scholarly articles explain that identity and the hormone release are connected to brain functions. Scholars say that hormonal activities start in the brain. The pituitary gland sends messages to the relevant organs to release the hormones estrogen and testosterone. This hormonal release in adolescents is triggered by their thoughts on the changing characteristics of their bodies (Ristori et al., 2020). The more an individual is obsessed with thinking about their self-identity, the more the hormones are released, which triggers the behavior. In response to this, researchers advise parents to engage their children in more activities such that they lack time to sit down and think about their identity. This can minimize the problem of sexual feelings due to limited time and feeling tired. The brain is the master of all activities that happen in an individual’s body.

Influence of Brain on Hormone Release

On the other hand, in his article Influence of Sex Steroid Hormones on the Adolescent Brain and Behavior, pillar Vigil says that during the transition from puberty to adolescence, the brain is reorganized. The influence of sex steroids and other hormones affects how an individual thinks (Vigil et al., 2016). This is influenced by the fact that the hormones are involved in the reorganization of an adolescent’s brain. Through this, individuals start to think about their identity and the general characteristics that distinguish them from the opposite gender. In most cases, sexual mentality starts to accumulate in the mind of an adolescent due to changes in the brain. The neural circuits make individuals think about who they are being activated. The future behavior and identity of an individual are directly influenced by the changes that occur during adolescence due to steroid hormone influence. Scholars also say that an individual’s mental health may be affected by the identity and behavior developed during adolescence (Turban et al., 2022).


Scholars have suggested that a lot needs to be done to teenagers during this period to help them to balance their hormones so that their behavior and body changes do not adversely affect their behavior. Most of the studies that have been done in this field have not been in a position to address how the change of behavior can be handled scientifically to ensure that the transition is smooth for the teens. They have also been unable to answer how the environment affects the behavioral change of an individual. Their suggestions about gender and brain influence are also very shallow (Bastista et al., 2019). Therefore, more studies must come up with more recommendations on how this can be done in teenagers’ interests. They also need research on ways that can be used to minimize the impact of gender identity on the future behavior of an individual.


The methodology for this study will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase, the sample population where the study will be conducted will be identified. The sampling technique will be used to select participants randomly from the whole population who will be involved in the study. The participants need to know that taking part in the study is voluntary and that the data collected will only be for this study. Descriptive research will be adopted in this study. Data will be collected using oral and written interviews. In written interviews, questionnaires will be administered to the participants (Reisman et al., 2019). After filling out the questionnaires, they will be collected and qualitative data analyzed to obtain the quantitative data. Some of the data that will be collected will include age, gender, the time when the hormone exposure effects started being experienced, and how the hormone exposure affects gender identity in adolescents. The quantitative data collected was represented using bar graphs and pie charts. The table below is a sample of the data that will be collected in this study.



Percentages (Boys)

Percentage (Girls)







From the hypotheses started by the study, the table below shows the number of teenagers whose hormone exposure is likely to enhance their character identity.



Percentages (Boys)

Percentage (Girls)








From the data samples collected above, it is evident that most of the teenagers’ gender identity is greatly determined by hormones exposure during the adolescence period. From the sample that was collected, 80 percent of the boys and 66.7 percent of the girls strongly agreed that their gender identity has greatly been affected by hormones during adolescence. In this regard, it is therefore important that the adolescence period has to be handled with a lot of care because of the very significant role it plays in the transition process from childhood to adulthood.


From the study, it is clear that gender identity takes place during adolescence. During this period, teenagers experience different changes in behavior and their bodies. Some of them grow so big because of hormonal imbalances. It is during this time that boys identify with men and girls identify with women. Their sexual organs fully develop, and they fully become aware of themselves.


Batista, R. L., Inacio, M., Arnhold, I. J. P., Gomes, N. L., Faria Jr, J. A. D., de Moraes, D. R., … & Mendonça, B. B. (2019). Psychosexual aspects, effects of prenatal androgen exposure, and gender change in 46, XY disorders of sex development. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 104(4), 1160-1170.

Berenbaum, S. A. (2018). Evidence needed to understand gender identity: Commentary on Turban & Ehrensaft (2018). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59(12), 1244-1247.

Calzo, J. P., & Blashill, A. J. (2018). Child sexual orientation and gender identity in the

Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Cohort Study. JAMA pediatrics, 172(11),


Eskenazi, B., Rauch, S. A., Tenerelli, R., Huen, K., Holland, N. T., Lustig, R. H., … & Harley, K.G. (2017). In utero and childhood DDT, DDE, PBDE and PCBs exposure and sex hormones in adolescent boys: The CHAMACOS study. International journal of hygiene and environmental health, 220(2), 364-372.

Hruz, P. W. (2020). Deficiencies in scientific evidence for medical management of gender

dysphoria. The Linacre Quarterly, 87(1), 34-42.

Jarin, J., Pine-Twaddell, E., Trotman, G., Stevens, J., Conard, L. A., Tefera, E., & Gomez- Lobo, V. (2017). Cross-sex hormones and metabolic parameters in adolescents with gender dysphoria. Pediatrics, 139(5).

Kaltiala-Heino, R., & Lindberg, N. (2019). Gender identities in adolescent population:

methodological issues and prevalence across age groups. European Psychiatry, 55, 61-


Porta, C. M., Gower, A. L., Brown, C., Wood, B., & Eisenberg, M. E. (2020). Perceptions of sexual orientation and gender identity minority adolescents about labels. Western journal of nursing research, 42(2), 81-89.

Martinez, C., Rikhi, R., Haque, T., Fazal, A., Kolber, M., Hurwitz, B. E., … & Brown, T. T.

(2020). Gender identity, hormone therapy, and cardiovascular disease risk. Current problems in cardiology, 45(5), 100396.

Moravek, M. B. (2019). Fertility preservation options for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 31(3), 170-176.

Murphy, T. F. (2019). Adolescents and body modification for gender identity

expression. Medical Law Review, 27(4), 623-639.

Reisman, T., Goldstein, Z., & Safer, J. D. (2019). A review of breast development in cisgender women and implications for transgender women. Endocrine Practice, 25(12), 1338-1345.

Ristori, J., Cocchetti, C., Romani, A., Mazzoli, F., Vignozzi, L., Maggi, M., & Fisher, A. D.

(2020). Brain sex differences related to gender identity development: Genes or

hormones?. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(6), 2123.

PSY – 495 Topic 4: Limitations

Part 1: Limitations

Review all the articles you included in your reference list/literature articles assignment focusing specifically on the limitations presented in each study (remember to cite the information). List the limitations that you find below. Please note: limitations are often in the discussion or conclusion of an article. Researchers/authors will note things like a small sample size as a limitation.

Part 2: Similarities of Limitations

Look for similarities in the limitations. Do several studies note the same limitation? Write a paragraph that summarizes the similarities noted. Make sure you have cited all of the articles in-text that note similar limitations. (Please note: When your parenthetical citation includes two or more sources, list in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author listed and separate using a semi-colon.)

Part 3: Reduction or Avoidance of Impact

Consider the limitations noted in previous studies. Might these limitations impact the study you are proposing? Can you structure your study to help reduce or avoid the limitations that have been noted by previous researchers? If so, how? If not, why?

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