Date of Conferral
Ronald C. Fox
Transgender people, a minority population, are at increased risk for negative health and mental health consequences. Profound societal discrimination and stigmatization lead to systemic institutional barriers and lack of access to health care services. Research with lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations shows a strong association between minority stress and mental health; however, there is a gap in research for the transgender population. This study, based on theories of minority stress, positive psychology, the biopsychosocial model, and the transgender model, was conducted to clarify this relationship for the transgender population. Four research questions were proposed. A final sample of N = 29 transgender participants completed an online survey with 3 measures of minority stress (internalized transphobia, stigmatization, and prejudice events) and 5 measures of mental health (depression, suicide, anxiety, and substance abuse [drug and alcohol]). It was predicted that each minority stressor would have an independent effect upon each mental health variable, and when the effects of the stressors were combined, each would maintain an independent effect on mental health, so that their combined effect would be greater than their individual effects. Regression analyses indicated, as expected, participants with higher perceived stigma scores had higher suicidal ideation scores. Contrary to expectations, participants with higher internalized transphobia scores had lower scores on suicidal ideation. No other significant predictive relationships were found. The results of this study advocate for social change initiatives by presenting information on a poorly understood minority group for the purpose of promoting a positive effect for institutions, professionals, and transgender clients in the context of health care settings.