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Mental, Physical, Sexual Abuse Up for Transgender Adolescents

Last Updated: July 07, 2021.

WEDNESDAY, July 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Transgender adolescents (TGAs) have increased odds of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse compared with heterosexual cisgender adolescents (CGAs), according to a study published online July 5 in Pediatrics.

Brian C. Thoma, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues examined self-reported childhood abuse among TGAs compared with CGAs in a cross-sectional study involving 1,836 adolescents aged 14 to 18 years (1,055 TGAs, 340 heterosexual CGAs, and 433 sexual-minority CGAs). Gender assigned at birth and current gender identity were reported.

The researchers found that 73, 39, and 19 percent of TGAs reported psychological abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, respectively. TGAs had higher odds of psychological abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse compared with heterosexual CGAs (odds ratios, 1.84, 1.61, and 2.04, respectively). Compared with CGAs, transgender males and nonbinary adolescents assigned female at birth had increased odds of reporting psychological abuse.

"Clinicians should be aware that higher levels of abuse could contribute to disproportionate mental health problems among TGAs, and future research should examine how childhood abuse contributes to higher levels of mental health problems among TGAs over time," the authors write.

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