Supportive interactions with primary care doctors are associated with better mental health among transgender people: results of a nationwide survey in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/14795
BACKGROUND: Past research has established that transgender people experience significant disparities in mental health outcomes and healthcare dissatisfaction compared with cisgender people, but more research is needed on how supportive healthcare interactions relate to the mental health of transgender people. OBJECTIVES: The 2 main aims of our analyses were: (i) to establish the most common negative experiences in healthcare and the most common supportive experiences specifically with primary care doctors for transgender people; and (ii) to examine the association of supportive experiences with mental health variables after controlling for demographic factors. METHODS: Data from the 2018 Counting Ourselves nationwide survey of transgender people were analysed using regression modelling. The 948 participants with a primary care doctor or general practitioner were included in analyses. Participants were aged 14-83 years old (mean 30.20). RESULTS: The most common supportive experiences involved primary care doctors treating transgender people equitably, with competence, and with respect. Participants with more negative healthcare experiences had higher psychological distress as well as higher likelihood of reporting nonsuicidal self-injury and suicidality. Conversely, participants with more experiences of supportive primary care doctors had lower psychological distress and were less likely to have attempted suicide in the past 12 months. CONCLUSION: When transgender people receive supportive care from their primary care providers they experience better mental health, despite ongoing negative healthcare experiences. Future research is needed to confirm ways of supporting positive trajectories of mental health for transgender people but these findings demonstrate the importance of positive aspects of care.
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