Social Support, Stigma, and Mental Health Outcomes Among Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Adults in the United States
Stigma experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals has been associated with adverse mental health outcomes, like depression, anxiety, and suicidality. Some research documents that social support buffers associations of stigma with adverse mental health outcomes among TGNC individuals, while other research does not find buffering effects. Research has found direct associations of social support from families and friends with more positive mental health outcomes among TGNC individuals. More research is needed to understand the unique and combined consequences of different forms of stigma (i.e., enacted, anticipated. internalized) for mental health, as well as the specific functions and sources of social support that may both directly benefit mental health and moderate associations between stigma and mental health. This study recruited adult TGNC participants living in the U.S. through social media to complete an online survey about their experiences of stigma, social support. and mental health. Specifically, I tested direct associations of enacted, anticipated, and internalized stigma, as well as different sources of social support (i.e.. TGNC people online, TGNC people in person, non-TGNC people online, non-TGNC people in person), with anxiety and depressive symptoms. Further. I tested potential moderation by social support of associations between stigma and mental health. I also examined the extent to which different types of support (instrumental and emotional) were more or less commonly received from particular sources of support. Analyses were conducted with data from 136 participants in the final analytic sample. Total, enacted, internalized, and anticipated stigma were each positively correlated with anxiety and depressive symptoms. In regression analyses with the three forms of stigma and control variables included as simultaneous predictors, only enacted stigma remained positively associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms. Social support from non-TGNC people in person was negatively associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms in both correlation and regression analyses. Social support from TGNC people in person and from non-TGNC people online were not associated with anxiety or depressive symptoms in correlation or regression analyses. Social support from TGNC people online was significantly positively associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms in correlation and regression analyses. Social support and individual sources of support did not moderate associations of stigma with mental health outcomes. Individuals received more emotional support than instrumental support from all sources. Study findings contribute to our understanding of experiences of TGNC individuals to inform gender-affirming therapeutic interventions and techniques. Keywords: anxiety, depression, gender-nonconforming, mental health, microaggressions, social network, social support. stigma. transgender
Mental health|Social psychology
Kaplan, Ilyssa M, "Social Support, Stigma, and Mental Health Outcomes Among Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Adults in the United States" (2020). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI27912198.
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