A new study finds that more than a quarter of California schoolchildren between 12 and 17 believe their peers see them as "gender nonconforming," meaning those boys are perceived as more feminine and girls more masculine.

Authors of the study, released Wednesday, say the 27 percent of California children perceived as gender nonconforming are more vulnerable to bullying and other psychological distress.

The University of California, Los Angeles, study is among the first of its kind in the nation.

Lead author Bianca Wilson says the study didn't find that gender nonconforming children have statistically significant higher levels of suicide. But, she says they're more than twice as likely to experience psychological distress - a risk factor for suicide.

Wilson says quantifying such youths is vital to getting them services.