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Social support and internalizing psychopathology in transgender youth

Research Youth Mental Health & Wellbeing
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Authors: Durwood, L., Eisner, L., Fladeboe, K., Ji, C. G., Barney, S., McLaughlin, K. A., & Olson, K. R.

Date of publication: 2021

Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence

Summary: This US study examined the levels of symptoms of depression and anxiety in 265 gender diverse young people aged 3 to 15 years and how they were associated with family, peer, school and state-level (calculated using the number of supportive trans-related policies and laws in place in the child’s state) support. Young people in the study had socially transitioned (i.e., were being supported to live openly as the gender they identify with). Parents completed measures on their child’s mental health and levels of family, peer and school support.

Parents who reported higher levels of family, peer, and school support for their child’s gender identity also reported fewer depression and/or anxiety symptoms. The researchers found state-level support was not meaningfully linked to the child’s mental health. Peer and school support, however, acted as buffers for the child’s mental health. The researchers concluded that even among young people who are supported by their parents to transition socially, parents report better wellbeing when they also see more support for the child’s gender identity from family, peers, and schools. This research suggests schools play an important part in supporting gender diverse children’s wellbeing.

You can read a summary of the study only here