The health and well-being of transgender high school students: results from the New Zealand adolescent health survey (Youth’12).

Clark, Terryann C.; Lucassen, Mathijs F. G.; Bullen, Pat; Denny, Simon J.; Fleming, Theresa M.; Robinson, Elizabeth M. and Rossen, Fiona V. (2014). The health and well-being of transgender high school students: results from the New Zealand adolescent health survey (Youth’12). Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1) pp. 93–99.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.11.008

Abstract

Purpose

To report the prevalence of students according to four gender groups (i.e., those who reported being non-transgender, transgender, or not sure about their gender, and those who did not understand the transgender question), and to describe their health and well-being.

Methods

Logistic regressions were used to examine the associations between gender groups and selected outcomes in a nationally representative high school health and well-being survey, undertaken in 2012.

Results

Of the students (n = 8,166), 94.7% reported being non-transgender, 1.2% reported being transgender, 2.5% reported being not sure about their gender, and 1.7% did not understand the question. Students who reported being transgender or not sure about their gender or did not understand the question had compromised health and well-being relative to their nontransgender peers; in particular, for transgender students perceiving that a parent cared about them (odds ratio [OR], .3; 95% confidence interval[CI], .2 -.4), depressive symptoms (OR, 5.7; 95% CI, 3.6-9.2), suicide attempts (OR, 5.0; 95% CI, 2.9-8.8), and school bullying (OR, 4.5; 95% CI, 2.4-8.2).

Conclusions

This is the first nationally representative survey to report the health and well-being of students who report being transgender. We found that transgender students and those reporting not being sure are a numerically small but important group. Transgender students are diverse and are represented across demographic variables, including their sexual attractions. Transgender youth face considerable health and well-being disparities. It is important to address the challenging environments these students face and to increase access to responsive services for transgender youth.

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