Prevalence of self-inflicted injuries among transgender and gender diverse adolescents and young adults compared to their peers: an examination of interaction with mental health morbidity

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Annals of epidemiology


PURPOSE: Compare occurrence of self-inflicted injuries among transgender and gender diverse (TGD) youth to that of their cisgender peers while accounting for mental health diagnoses.

METHODS: Review of electronic health records from three integrated health care systems identified 1087 transfeminine and 1431 transmasculine adolescents and young adults. Poisson regression was used to calculate prevalence ratios comparing the proportion of TGD participants with at least one self-inflicted injury (a surrogate for suicide attempt) before index date (first evidence of TGD status) to the corresponding proportions in presumed cisgender male and female referents matched on age, race/ethnicity, and health plan. Interactions between gender identities and mental health diagnoses were assessed on multiplicative and additive scales.

RESULTS: TGD adolescents and young adults were more likely to have a self-inflicted injury, various mental health diagnoses, and multiple mental health diagnoses than their cisgender peers. The prevalence of self-inflicted injuries among TGD adolescents and young adults was high even in the absence of mental health diagnoses. Results were consistent with positive additive interaction and negative multiplicative interaction.

CONCLUSIONS: Universal suicide prevention efforts for all youth, including those with no mental health diagnoses, and more intensive suicide prevention efforts for TGD adolescents and young adults and those with at least one mental health diagnosis are warranted.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Female; Humans; Male; Young Adult; Gender Identity; Mental Health; Prevalence; Transgender Persons; Transsexualism; Self-Injurious Behavior; Sexual and Gender Minorities; Mental Disorders

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ePub ahead of print



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