Exploring the mental health experiences of young trans and gender diverse people during the Covid-19 pandemic

Bethany A. Jones*, Mhairi Bowe, Niamh McNamara, Ella Guerin, Tim Carter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Both anxiety and depression have been identified as negative health outcomes associated with the distressing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially among young people. Within this age demographic, trans and gender diverse people may be particularly vulnerable to pandemic-related mental health outcomes, such as anxiety and depression, due to the social challenges, gender dissonance, and poor mental health they experience. Furthermore, the social distancing measures impose several unique social and help-seeking challenges which may further contribute to the worsening of mental health. While there has been acknowledgment that vulnerable populations may be disproportionally affected by the pandemic, the experiences of trans and gender diverse youth have received very little empirical attention. Aims: To explore the mental health impact of Covid-19 on the lives of young trans and gender diverse people in the UK. Method: In total, 243 people took part in an online survey between May and July in 2020. Eighty-two people were removed due to providing insufficient data. The analyzed dataset therefore comprised of 161 respondents ranging from 16 to 25 years (M = 20; SD = 2.68). Participants were asked how social distancing measures had impact on their social lives, mental health and access to health services. They were also asked to complete validated measures of anxiety and depression. Results: This study found that those who experienced a greater impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and its associated social distancing measures, reported poorer mental health. Lack of social support, negative interpersonal interactions, unsupportive and non-affirming living environments and the inability to access mental health support and gender-affirming interventions were all factors that were associated with poor mental health. Conclusion: The findings provide specific direction for the tailoring of mental health service delivery to this population, noting the need for private, safe spaces in which young people can feel supported and have their gender identity affirmed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-304
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Transgender Health
Volume24
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • coronavirus
  • Covid-19
  • depression
  • gender diverse
  • mental health
  • trans
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Gender Studies

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