Maternal Support Is Protective Against Suicidal Ideation Among a Diverse Cohort of Young Transgender Women

LGBT Health. 2020 Oct;7(7):349-357. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2020.0219. Epub 2020 Sep 4.


Purpose: We assessed if young transgender women (YTW) with parents who are supportive of their transgender identity had lower odds of having suicidal ideation compared with YTW with unsupportive parents. Methods: This study analyzed baseline findings from a diverse sample of 297 sexually active, YTW 16-29 years of age who were enrolled in Project LifeSkills, a randomized controlled HIV prevention intervention efficacy trial in Chicago and Boston, between 2012 and 2015. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression were used to assess if parental support was associated with a decreased odds of suicidal ideation. Results: Nearly one-fifth (18.9%) of YTW reported suicidal ideation at baseline. In our adjusted multivariable model, YTW with supportive mothers had 0.37 (95% confidence interval = 0.15-0.90) times the odds of having suicidal ideation compared with YTW with unsupportive mothers. Conclusion: This study found that the odds of suicidal ideation were lower among YTW who had mothers who were supportive of their transgender identity. Our results suggest that parent-focused interventions to improve the relationships between YTW and their parents may lower the odds of YTW having suicidal ideation. Clinical Trial Registration Identifier: NCT01575938.

Keywords: mental health; parental support; suicidal ideation; young transgender women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Social Support*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult

Associated data