HealthDay News — Youth with gender nonconformity are vulnerable to experiencing adversity, and transgender and/or gender nonconforming (TGNC) youth have higher prevalence of mental health conditions, according to two studies published online April 16 in Pediatrics.
Laura Baams, Ph.D., from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, examined patterns of childhood adversity in a sample of 81,885 students enrolled in grades nine and 11 at 348 schools. The researchers found that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning adolescents were more likely to be classified into profiles characterized by polyvictimization (odds ratio, 1.81 to 7.53) and psychological or physical abuse (odds ratios, 1.29 to 3.12) compared with heterosexual adolescents. Transgender adolescents were also more likely to be classified into profiles characterized by patterns of polyvictimization (odds ratio, 1.49 to 2.91) and psychological and/or physical abuse (odds ratios, 1.23 to 1.96).
Tracy A. Becerra-Culqui, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, and colleagues identified a cohort of 588 transfeminine and 745 transmasculine children and adolescents. The researchers found that for all mental health diagnostic categories, TGNC youth had a prevalence that was several-fold higher than the matched reference group of cisgender enrollees. For history of self-inflicted injury in the adolescents six months before the index date, the prevalence ratios ranged from 18 to 144; for suicidal ideation, the corresponding range was 25 to 54.
“TGNC youth may present with mental health conditions requiring immediate evaluation and implementation of clinical, social, and educational gender identity support measures,” Becerra-Culqui and colleagues write.