Can prenatal exposure to Diethylstilbestrol masculinize the gender-role behavior of girls and women?
1991 Study Abstract
This report concerns the role of prenatal hormones in normal and abnormal psychosexual differentiation.
Gender-related behavior development in females exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero: an attempted replication, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NCBI PubMed PMID: 2005061, 1991 Jan.
Image credit RAZ Zarate.
Several studies indicate that perinatal treatment of infrahuman female mammals with diethylstilbestrol (DES) masculinizes certain features of their brain and behavior.
Accordingly, the authors have hypothesized that prenatal exposure to DES may also masculinize the gender-role behavior of girls and women.
A previous study suggested that prenatally DES-exposed women show decreased interest in parenting.
The authors failed to replicate these findings in a different sample despite the use of similar methodology.
Post-hoc analysis shows that the assessment devices would have detected masculinization if it were present.
The implications of these findings for an understanding of psychosexual development are discussed.