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Family Functioning and Mental Health of TGN Youth

J Sex Res; ePub 2018 Jan 16; Katz-Wise, et al

Findings from a recent study highlight the importance of considering transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGN) youth’s perspectives on the family in order to improve functioning in families with TGN youth. TGN youth are at increased risk for adverse mental health outcomes, however, better family functioning may be protective. In a community-based sample, participants were from 33 families (96 family members) and included 33 TGN youth, ages 13 to 17 years; 48 cisgender (non-transgender) caregivers; and 15 cisgender siblings. They completed a survey with measures of family functioning (family communication, family satisfaction) and mental health of TGN youth (suicidality, self-harm, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, resilience). Researchers found:

  • TGN youth reported a high risk of mental health concerns: suicidality (15% to 30%), self-harm (49%), clinically significant depressive symptoms (61%); and moderate self-esteem and resiliency.
  • In adjusted models, better family functioning from the TGN youth’s perspective was associated with better mental health outcomes among TGN youth.

Katz-Wise SL, Ehrensaft D, Vetters R, Forcier M, Austin SB. Family functioning and mental health of transgender and gender-nonconforming youth in the Trans Teen and Family Narratives Project. [Published online ahead of print January 16, 2018]. J Sex Res. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1415291.

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