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Enacted stigma experiences and protective factors are strongly associated with mental health outcomes of transgender people in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Introduction: International evidence has found large mental health inequities among transgender people and demonstrates that mental health outcomes are associated with enacted stigma experiences and protective factors. This study aimed to examine the extent of associations of enacted stigma experiences specific to transgender people alongside protective factors with mental health of transgender people in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Methods: The 2018 Counting Ourselves survey was a nationwide community-based study of transgender people (N = 1178, Mage = 29.5) living in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The survey assessed a wide range of gender minority stress experiences and protective factors that comprised primary (support from friends and family) and secondary social ties (neighborhood and transgender community belongingness). We calculated the predicted probabilities that transgender people exhibit very high psychological distress level, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicidal risks with different combinations and exposure profiles of enacted stigma and protective factors. Results: Our findings demonstrated that enacted stigma was associated with negative mental health, and support of friends and family was linked to better outcomes across all mental health measures. Beyond primary social ties, sense of belongingness to neighborhood and transgender communities were linked to reduced odds of psychological distress and suicidal ideation. For those scoring high on enacted stigma and low on protective factors, our model revealed a 25% probability of attempting suicide in the last year compared to 3% for those scoring low on enacted stigma and high on protective factors. Conclusions: Echoing previous findings, this study demonstrates that transgender people across Aotearoa/New Zealand are less likely to manifest life-threatening mental health outcomes if they experience low levels of enacted stigma and high levels of access to protective factors. Our findings suggest a need to address the enacted stigma that transgender people face across interpersonal and structural settings, and also to enhance social supports that are gender affirmative for this population.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Tan, K. K. H., Treharne, G. J., Ellis, S. J., Schmidt, J. M., & Veale, J. (2020). Enacted stigma experiences and protective factors are strongly associated with mental health outcomes of transgender people in Aotearoa/New Zealand. International Journal of Transgenderism. https://doi.org/10.1080/15532739.2020.1819504
Taylor & Francis
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Transgenderism on October 20, 2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/15532739.2020.1819504.”