From the Journals

Female to male transgender teens most likely to attempt suicide



Just over half of female to male transgender adolescents have reported attempting suicide, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Russell B. Toomey, PhD, of the University of Arizona, Tucson, and his associates performed an analysis of data from the Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors survey. Data was collected from June 2012 to May 2015 and included 120,617 adolescents aged 11-19 years. A total of 202 adolescents identified as male to female transgender, 175 identified as female to male transgender, 344 identified as nonbinary transgender, 1,052 identified as questioning, 60,973 identified as female, and 57,871 identified as male.

Male adolescents were least likely to attempt suicide, with 10% reporting at least one attempt, followed by those identifying as female (18%), questioning (28%), male to female transgender (30%), nonbinary transgender (42%), and female to male transgender (51%). All groups were significantly more likely to attempt suicide, compared with male adolescents.

Compared with transgender adolescents who identified as heterosexual only, identifying as non-heterosexual was associated with an increased risk of attempting suicide, except in nonbinary transgender adolescents. There was no association of increased risk of attempting suicide in transgender adolescents based on ethnicity, parental education levels, age, or urbanicity, except parent education level appeared to be a protective factor for questioning adolescents.

“These results should be used to inform suicide prevention and intervention policy and programs that are aimed at reducing ongoing gender identity–related disparities in suicide behavior as well as ongoing research in which authors seek to better understand for whom and why suicide behavior risk exists,” the authors concluded.

The study was supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities. The authors had no relevant financial disclosures.

SOURCE: Toomey RB et al. Pediatrics. 2018 Sept 11. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-4218.

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