The health and well-being of transgender high school students: results from the New Zealand adolescent health survey (Youth'12)

J Adolesc Health. 2014 Jul;55(1):93-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.11.008. Epub 2014 Jan 14.


Purpose: To report the prevalence of students according to four gender groups (i.e., those who reported being non-transgender, transgender, or not sure about their gender, and those who did not understand the transgender question), and to describe their health and well-being.

Methods: Logistic regressions were used to examine the associations between gender groups and selected outcomes in a nationally representative high school health and well-being survey, undertaken in 2012.

Results: Of the students (n = 8,166), 94.7% reported being non-transgender, 1.2% reported being transgender, 2.5% reported being not sure about their gender, and 1.7% did not understand the question. Students who reported being transgender or not sure about their gender or did not understand the question had compromised health and well-being relative to their non-transgender peers; in particular, for transgender students perceiving that a parent cared about them (odds ratio [OR], .3; 95% confidence interval [CI], .2-.4), depressive symptoms (OR, 5.7; 95% CI, 3.6-9.2), suicide attempts (OR, 5.0; 95% CI, 2.9-8.8), and school bullying (OR, 4.5; 95% CI, 2.4-8.2).

Conclusions: This is the first nationally representative survey to report the health and well-being of students who report being transgender. We found that transgender students and those reporting not being sure are a numerically small but important group. Transgender students are diverse and are represented across demographic variables, including their sexual attractions. Transgender youth face considerable health and well-being disparities. It is important to address the challenging environments these students face and to increase access to responsive services for transgender youth.

Keywords: Adolescent; Health; Sexuality; Transgender; Well-Being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Bullying / psychology
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Disclosure
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Peer Group
  • Risk-Taking
  • Self Report
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data