Increased risk of suicide among transgender teens

 In Naturopathic News

Node Smith, ND

A new study has highlighted an increased risk of suicide among transgender teens than their cisgender peers, those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.1 The study is from the University of Arizona and looks at who, within the transgender community, is most at risk.

Transmale, or transmasculine individuals, are at the most risk for attempting suicide

The research into this topic noted that transmale, or transmasculine – individuals who were assigned the gender of female at birth but who identify as male – as well as teens who don’t identify as entirely male or female – a nonbinary experience of gender – are at the most risk for attempting suicide. The study is published in the journal Pediatrics, and further supports previous findings and may help further suicide-prevention programs for this group.

Most research in this area has compared transgender teens to cisgender teens

Until now, most research in this area has compared transgender teens to cisgender teens, without looking at differences in risk within the transgender teen population.

Research study found that 50.8 percent of transmasculine teens between ages 11 – 19 have attempted suicide at least one time

The research study found that 50.8 percent of transmasculine teens between ages 11 – 19 have attempted suicide at least one time, while 41.8 of nonbinary teens – individuals who don’t identify as either male or female, entirely – have attempted suicide. The next most at-risk teen group were transfeminine – individuals who were assigned a male gender at birth but who identify as female – at 29.9 percent, those questioning their gender identity, at 27.9 percent.

Risk is significantly lower for cisgender teens

The risk is significantly lower for cisgender teens, with 17.6 percent of females having attempted suicide and 9.8 percent of males.

Research uses an analysis of data from the Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors survey

This research uses an analysis of data from the Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors survey, a national survey designed to provide a snapshot of youth behaviors, attitudes and experiences. The survey focuses on 40 developmental assets know to be associated with healthy development, as well as risk behaviors, such as depression and suicidal behaviors. Data was collected over a 36-month period between 2012 and 2015, and from 120,617 adolescents, most of whom identified as cisgender.

Source:

Toomey RB, Syvertsen AK, Shramko M. Transgender Adolescent Suicide Behavior. Pediatrics. 2018


Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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