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Chosen Name Use Is Linked to Reduced Depressive Symptoms, Suicidal Ideation, and Suicidal Behavior Among Transgender Youth

      Abstract

      Purpose

      This study aimed to examine the relation between chosen name use, as a proxy for youths' gender affirmation in various contexts, and mental health among transgender youth.

      Methods

      Data come from a community cohort sample of 129 transgender and gender nonconforming youth from three U.S. cities. We assessed chosen name use across multiple contexts and examined its association with depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior.

      Results

      After adjusting for personal characteristics and social support, chosen name use in more contexts was associated with lower depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior. Depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior were lowest when chosen names could be used in all four contexts.

      Conclusion

      For transgender youth who choose a name different from the one given at birth, use of their chosen name in multiple contexts affirms their gender identity and reduces mental health risks known to be high in this group.

      Keywords

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      Linked Article

      • The Importance of Getting the Name Right for Transgender and Other Gender Expansive Youth
        Journal of Adolescent HealthVol. 63Issue 4
        • Preview
          Over the last decade, we have seen a growing number of policies at institutional and local levels that support transgender and other gender-expansive youth in the community, school, mental health, and medical settings. While this progress has been fraught with political controversy and increasing oppression against the transgender community in the form of a military ban, transphobic legislation, and violence, the benefits of protecting transgender youth and affirming their gender identities can be life-saving.
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