Numerous studies have reported a high prevalence of suicidality among transgender individuals. Yet few studies have reported results from population-based samples, leaving open questions about the generalizability of existing findings. Factors proposed to explain transgender individuals’ elevated risk of suicidality derive from several theoretical models (i.e., clinical model, interpersonal model, minority stress model, and societal integration model). These models identify both general risk factors (e.g., mental health risks and interpersonal risks) assumed to be elevated among transgender individuals because of transgender individuals’ exposure to stigma-related disadvantage and the stigma-specific risks themselves (e.g., minority stressors such as discrimination). This is one of the first population-based studies to examine differences in suicidality between transgender and cisgender individuals and theoretically derived factors potentially explaining such differences.
A sample of 533 transgender and 104,757 cisgender individuals (age 16–84) was analyzed.
Compared to cisgender individuals, transgender individuals were at a substantially higher risk of reporting both lifetime and past 12-month suicidality. Several factors partially mediated the increased risk of suicidality among transgender compared to cisgender individuals, including depressive symptoms, lack of social support, and exposure to discrimination.
This study suggests that transgender people experience multiple psychosocial health threats and calls for interventions to reduce these threats.