Discriminatory Experiences Associated With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Among Transgender Adults

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Abstract

Discrimination has been shown to disproportionately burden transgender people; however, there has been a lack of clinical attention to the mental health sequelae of discrimination, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Additionally, few studies contextualize discrimination alongside other traumatic stressors in predicting PTSD symptomatology. The current study sought to fill these gaps. A community-based sample of 412 transgender adults (mean age 33, SD = 13; 63% female-to-male spectrum; 19% people of color; 88% sampled online) completed a cross-sectional self-report survey of everyday discrimination experiences and PTSD symptoms. Multivariable linear regression models examined the association between self-reported everyday discrimination experiences, number of attributed domains of discrimination, and PTSD symptoms, adjusting for prior trauma, sociodemographics, and psychosocial comorbidity. The mean number of discrimination attributions endorsed was 4.8 (SD = 2.4) and the 5 most frequently reported reasons for discrimination were: gender identity and/or expression (83%), masculine and feminine appearance (79%), sexual orientation (68%), sex (57%), and age (44%). Higher everyday discrimination scores (β = 0.25; 95% CL [0.21, 0.30]) and greater number of attributed reasons for discrimination experiences (β = 0.05; 95% CL [0.01, 0.10]) were independently associated with PTSD symptoms, even after adjusting for prior trauma experiences. Everyday discrimination experiences from multiple sources necessitate clinical consideration in treatment for PTSD symptoms in transgender people.

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