Transgender children supported in their identities show positive mental health

Posted on February 29, 2016

Photo: flickr

Studies of mental health among transgender people in the United States have been consistently grim, showing higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.

But almost nothing is known about the mental health of a new and growing generation of transgender Americans -- prepubescent children who are living openly as transgender with the support of their families. How do those children fare in an environment of openness and family support? When their gender identity is affirmed, are they happy?

New University of Washington research suggests the answer is yes. To be published Feb. 26 in Pediatrics, the study is believed to be the first to look at the mental health of transgender children who have "socially transitioned," changing their preferred pronouns and typically, their names, clothing and hairstyles.

The research found that the transgender children's levels of depression averaged a score of 50.1, almost the same as the national norm of 50. Their anxiety rates were 54.2, only slightly higher than the national norm.

The higher anxiety rates aren't exactly surprising, Olson said. Though transgender children are becoming increasingly visible in the mainstream media -- the most well-known, 15-year-old Jazz Jennings, is the subject of a new documentary series -- their reality remains little understood even within the medical community.

Category(s):Child and/or Adolescent Issues, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) Issues

Source material from University of Washington

Mental Health News