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article imageTransgender youth show higher rates of suicide and self-harm

By Tim Sandle     Aug 31, 2016 in Health
Young people who are defined or self-defined as transgender have greater rates of self-harm and a greater risk of suicide according to a new study.
The headline figures from the study are that 30 percent of transgender youth have reported a making a minimum of one suicide attempt; in addition, 42 percent have reported a history of self-injury activities like cutting their skin.
Rates were higher with patients transitioning from female to male, across both categories (self-harm and suicide) compared with those transitioning from male to female. The data is based on a relatively small sample of 96 transgender people aged between 12 and 22 years.
Transgender individuals are people who have a gender identity, or gender expression, that differs from their assigned sex. Transgender differs from transsexual (which is a desire to have medical assistance to transition from one sex to another).
The new study into psychological aspects of transgender has been undertaken by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
As well as the rates for self-harm and suicide the study also showed a higher frequency of suicide attempts among those transgender youth who were most dissatisfied with their weight.
Commenting on the study Dr. Claire Peterson, who led the research explains: “Our study provides further evidence for the at-risk nature of transgender youth and emphasizes that mental health providers and physicians working with this population need to be aware of these challenges."
Dr. Peterson added: “Dissatisfaction with one's appearance and the drive to look different from one's sex assigned at birth is central to gender dysphoria — the feeling that your gender identity is different from that at birth."
The study is published in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. The research paper is headed “Suicidality, Self-Harm, and Body Dissatisfaction in Transgender Adolescents and Emerging Adults with Gender Dysphoria.”
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