Gender identity-based disparities in self-injurious thoughts and behaviors among pre-teens in the United States
Randall, A.B., van der Star, A., Pennesi, J-L., Siegel, J.A., & Blashill, A.J.
Transgender individuals are at heightened risk for self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs). Evidence suggests that middle childhood-aged transgender individuals experience elevated rates of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and passive suicidal ideation (SI), compared to cisgender children. Little is known about gender identity-based disparities in SI more broadly and suicidal behavior (SB) in children aged 9 and 10. The aim of this study was to examine gender identity-based disparities in SITBs among children in middle childhood (pre-teens) in a US-based sample.
Using data from the 3.0 baseline release of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, logistic regression models, unadjusted and adjusted for covariates, were performed to examine gender identity-based disparities in SITBs.
In a model adjusted for birth sex, race/ethnicity, and household income, transgender children were at significantly higher odds for current (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 6.34) but not lifetime NSSI compared with cisgender children. Transgender children were at significantly higher odds for current and lifetime SI (AOR = 13.03; AOR = 5.39, respectively) and SB (AOR = 14.21; AOR = 12.64, respectively) compared with cisgender children.
Gender identity-based disparities in SITBs may be present as early as age 9 and 10, demonstrating the need for SITB prevention and intervention efforts specific to transgender children.