Transgender Women's Experiences with Stigma, Trauma, and Attempted Suicide in the Dominican Republic

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Abstract

Studies on attempted suicide in transgender populations, particularly those in resource-limited settings, are scarce. We examined the relationships between stigma, trauma, and suicide attempts in a national sample of transgender women from the Dominican Republic. Bivariate analysis examined differences between suicide attempters and nonattempters (n = 298). Multivariate analysis reported odds ratios with attempted suicide as the outcome (n = 260). About a quarter of respondents (23.9%) experienced sexual abuse, 12.3% were tortured, and 20.3% experienced a murder attempt. More than a quarter reported using illegal drugs. Independent sample t tests found significant differences between suicide attempters and nonattempters. Attempters were more likely to have experienced sexual abuse, psychological abuse, torture, and a murder attempt (p < .001 for all). Respondents who experienced psychological abuse had over three times higher odds of attempting suicide, compared to respondents who had not (OR = 3.203, p < .01). Experience with torture and attempted murder were associated with higher odds of attempting suicide (OR = 2.967, p < .05 and OR = 2.894, p < .05, respectively). Although some nations have implemented antidiscrimination policies protecting transgender citizens, these policies are often not consistently enforced. Eliminating stigmatizing policies may reduce rates of negative health outcomes and subsequently improving population health.

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