Transgender, gender nonconforming youths underutilize health care

Originally Published By 2 Minute Medicine®. Reused on Clinical Advisor with permission.
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1. Nearly twice the number of youths who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming (TGNC) stated their health to be fair, poor, or good as opposed to very good or excellent when compared with youths who identified as cisgender.

2. Greater than half of the youths who identified as TGNC reported having long-term mental health problems in comparison to <25% of cisgender youths.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Study Rundown: Though previous studies have demonstrated that TGNC youths are at higher risk for depressive symptoms, bullying, and victimization, there remains a paucity of data surrounding the physical health issues of this population. In this study, researchers attempted to identify the health challenges of TGNC youths as well as their utilization of healthcare resources in relation to their cisgender peers. Using data from a statewide student survey, researchers discovered that high schoolers who identified as transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, or uncertain about their identity were nearly twice as likely to rate their health as poor, fair, or good as opposed to very good or excellent when compared with their cisgender peers. Additionally, TGNC youths were nearly 3 times as likely to report long term mental health issues and less likely to attend scheduled health maintenance visits as compared to their cisgender peers. Though this study was limited in its ability to differentiate exactly how different TGNC individuals identify, it affirms the need for more study into the specific health issues of TGNC youths and the barriers which keep them from receiving the same quality of healthcare as their cisgender peers.

Click to read the original article, published today in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: Childhood Gender Nonconformity, Bullying Victimization, and Depressive Symptoms Across Adolescence and Early Adulthood: An 11-Year Longitudinal Study]

In-Depth [cross-sectional study]: In this study, researchers used data from the Minnesota Statewide Survey administered in 2016, which included 85% of school districts. Participants included 80 929 students between 9th and 11th grade. The questionnaire asked students if they identified as transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, or unsure of their gender identity, along with questions about global health and long-term physical and mental health. 62.1% of TGNC youths identified their overall health as poor, fair, or good as opposed to very good or excellent, while their cisgender peers reported their overall health as one of the former three categories only 33.1% of the time (p < .001). 59.3% of TGNC youth reported having long-term mental health problems compared with 17.4% of their cisgender peers (p < .001). 60.0% of TGNC youths reported having a preventative medical check-up in the last year compared with 64.7% of cisgender youths (p < .001). 51.5% of TGNC youth reported staying home from school at least once in the prior month as compared to 42.6% of cisgender youths (p < .001).

©2018 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. All rights reserved. No works may be reproduced without expressed written consent from 2 Minute Medicine, Inc. Inquire about licensing here. No article should be construed as medical advice and is not intended as such by the authors or by 2 Minute Medicine, Inc.

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