According to a study published in Pediatrics on Friday, transgender children with supportive families have good mental health.
This study was conducted by researches at the University of Washington, who surveyed the parents and families of 73 transgender kids, with ages ranging from 3-12 and found that depression and anxiety rates among them were no higher than two control groups. These control groups consisted of their own siblings and a selection of age and gender matched children.
What is particularly interesting, is that their rates of depressed and anxiety were actually significantly lower than those of transgender or gender non-conforming children in previous studies.
According to the lead author of the study, Kristina Olson, these findings are a direct challenge to the notion that mental health problems in transgender children are inevitable, or that being transgender is in itself a mental disorder.
She said: “The thinking has always been that kids who are not acting gender-stereotypically are basically destined to have mental health problems,’ said Olson, a UW assistant professor of psychology. In our study, that’s not the case.”
“They [the findings] suggest that mental health problems are not inevitable in this group, and that family support might buffer these children from the onset of mental health problems so commonly observed in transgender people.”
The actual research figures show that transgender children’s levels of depression and anxiety reached an average score of 50.1, which is almost identical to the national norm of 50. As for their anxiety rates, they were only slightly higher than the norm at 54.2.
Kristina continued, saying: “The higher anxiety rates aren’t exactly surprising. It is hard to be transgender in 2016 in the United States. If peers know that a child is transgender, they often tease that child. If peers do not know, the transgender child has to worry about being found out. It’s not surprising that transgender children would have some more anxiety, given the state of the world for transgender children right now.”