Publishing in academic journal articles is an important part of academic research because these have been reviewed by independent experts, and usually this means that we have had to make changes to these articles based on these reviewers’ feedback. Academic journal articles are a good place to go into more in-depth analysis of our data than we could do in a community report or a fact sheet. These are also a good way for our findings to reach other academic researchers and health professionals.
Our aim is to make as many of these freely available to the general public as possible. However, there is a cost to making these open access, and we only received a limited amount of funding to do so.
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.
Method: The 2018 Counting Ourselves survey was a nationwide community-based study of transgender people (N = 1,178, 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.
Reference: Tan, K. K. H., Treharne, G. J., Ellis, S. J., Schmidt, J. M., & Veale, J. F. (2020). Enacted stigma experiences and protective factors are strongly associated with mental health outcomes of transgender people in Aotearoa/New Zealand. International Journal of Transgender Health. Advance online publication.
Mental Health inequities among transgender people in Aotearoa New Zealand: Findings from the Counting Ourselves Survey
There has been little international research looking at differences in mental health across different age groups. This study examines mental health inequities between transgender people and the Aotearoa/New Zealand general population from youth to older adulthood. The 2018 Counting Ourselves survey (N = 1178) assessed participants’ mental health using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) and diagnoses of depression and anxiety disorders, questions that were the same as those used in the New Zealand Health Survey. Our results showed significant mean score differences for transgender people on K10, and these differences were almost two standard deviations higher than the general population (Cohen’s d = 1.87). The effect size differences, however, decreased from youth to older adults. Regression analyses indicated trans women were less likely to report psychological distress than trans men and non-binary participants. There was an interaction effect for age and gender, with lower psychological distress scores found for younger trans women but higher scores for older trans women. The stark mental health inequities faced by transgender people, especially youth, demonstrate an urgent need to improve the mental health and wellbeing of this population by implementing inclusive institutional practices to protect them from gender minority stress.
Reference: Tan, K. K. H., Ellis, S. J., Schmidt, J. M., Byrne, J. L., & Veale, J. F. (2020). Mental health inequities among transgender people in Aotearoa New Zealand: Findings from the Counting Ourselves survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(8), 262