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McDevitt, J.B. (1989). The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality: By Richard Green, M.D. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1987. 416 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:480-483.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:480-483

The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality: By Richard Green, M.D. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1987. 416 pp.

Review by:
John B. McDevitt

Richard Green, a psychiatrist, is a serious and dedicated researcher. He has been studying and writing about "feminine" boys since the late 1950's when he was a medical student at Johns Hopkins. In this book he reports on the findings of a fifteen-year prospective study of sixty-six pervasively "feminine" boys contrasted with a matched group of conventionally "masculine" boys as each group matured into adolescence and young adulthood. The ages of the "feminine" boys at the time of initial evaluation ranged from four to twelve years. The term "feminine" refers to a constellation of behaviors, such as cross-dressing, the wish to be a girl, doll play, interest in women's clothing, and a disinclination to participate in rough-and-tumble play or to grow up to be like father.

This is an important study—the first of its kind. The major questions asked in the study involve: (1) the sexual orientation of the boys at the time of the follow-up study; (2) the features that distinguish which "feminine" boys became homosexually oriented; and (3) the correlation of the boys' "feminine" and "masculine" development with features of the parents.

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