Experiences and psychological wellbeing outcomes associated with bullying in treatment-seeking transgender and gender-diverse youth
journal contributionposted on 20.05.2019, 10:50 by Gemma WitcombGemma Witcomb, L. Claes, Walter P. Bouman, Elena Nixon, Joz Motmans, Jon Arcelus
Purpose: Bullying in the adult transgender population is well documented, but less is known about bullying among transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) youth. Studies have begun to explore experiences of bullying and the associated psychological distress in TGD youth; however, they often fail to distinguish among the separate groups within LGBT samples. This study sought to explore the prevalence, nature, and outcomes of bullying in TGD youth attending a transgender health service in the United Kingdom (UK), taking into account birth-assigned sex and out and social transition status. Methods: Prior to their first appointment at a specialist gender clinic, participants completed a brief sociodemographic questionnaire, a questionnaire assessing experiences and outcomes of bullying, and a clinically-validated measure of anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Results: A total of 274 young TGD people aged 16 to 25 years participated in the study. The majority of participants (86.5%) reported having experienced bullying, predominantly in school. Bullying was more prevalent in birth-assigned females and in out individuals, and commonly consisted of homophobic/transphobic (particularly in socially-transitioned individuals) or appearance-related (particularly in out individuals) name-calling. Individuals who reported having experienced bullying showed greater anxiety symptomology and also self-reported effects on anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. Birth-assigned females also reported greater effects on family relationships and social life. Conclusion: These findings indicate very high levels of bullying within the young TGD population attending a transgender health service in the UK, which affects wellbeing significantly. More intervention work and education need to be introduced in schools to reduce the amount of bullying.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences