Mental Health Studies Lump Transgender Teens under One Umbrella—and Miss Clues to Help Them in the Process

December 20, 2019

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Researchers are calling for more nuanced data on mental health among transgender youth. In many studies, transgender teens are placed in a single category. However, increasing evidence suggests that method could miss important differences in mental health outcomes. For example, a recent study asked 2,000 teens about their gender identity and gender assigned at birth. They found transgender boys were at highest risk of a suicide attempt, followed by teens who identified as non-binary (i.e., not exclusively male or female) who were assigned male sex at birth. “Transgender adolescents have been treated as this homogenous, monolithic group,” said lead author Brian Thoma, adding it is critical for studies to collect detailed information on this population. “I’m hoping that work like ours can help to start that conversation,” he said.

Spark Extra! Check out a glossary of terms related to the LGBTQ community.