Peer support as a protective factor against suicide in trans populations: A scoping review
Kia, H., MacKinnon, K.R., Abramovich, A., & Bonato, S.
There is a growing body of research involving transgender (trans) individuals that foregrounds elevated rates of suicidality in trans populations. Although peer support is increasingly studied as a protective factor against suicide among trans persons, the scholarship in this area continues to be limited and has yet to be synthesized and appraised.
In this paper, we address this existing gap in the literature by presenting the results of a scoping review of the literature examining the significance and function of peer support in mitigating suicide risk in trans populations.
This scoping review is based on an analysis of 34 studies that were included following the execution of a methodical search and selection process. Drawing on scoping review methodology, along with PRISMA-P guidelines, we selected peer-reviewed empirical works, published between 2000 and 2020, which examined relationships between providing, seeking, and/or receiving peer support and suicide risk in trans populations.
Our findings, which are conceptualized using the minority stress model as a guiding theoretical framework, reveal that while the literature generally substantiates the protective significance of peer support for trans persons, a small body of work also uncovers novel and unanticipated sources of peer support, including social support offered by trans peers online, which are infrequently and inconsistently examined in this body of scholarship.
Using our appraisal of the literature, we outline the need for future research to further elucidate the significance and function of peer support in protecting against suicide among trans persons. In particular, we discuss the need for exploratory inquiry to inform a conceptualization and operationalization of peer support that more fully and consistently accounts for how such support (including online and community-based support) is sought, received, and experienced among trans persons in the context of suicide.