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Study finds high rates of clinical symptoms of depression, anxiety among transgender people

45.1% and 24.0% of transgender people had clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression, respectively. The anxiety and depression mean scores in the sample were statistically significantly higher than in the general population.

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Transgender people had “clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression”, according to a study coming out of Russia this time.

The study – “Anxiety and Depression Among Transgender People: Findings from a Cross-Sectional Online Survey in Russia” by Egor M. Chumakov, Yulia V. Ashenbrenner, Nataliia N. Petrova, Michael S. Zastrozhin, Larisa A. Azarova, and Oleg V. Limankin – was published in LGBT Health.

For this study, the researchers conducted a structured online survey throughout November 2019. Russia’s Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was then used for online screening of anxiety and depression symptoms. A total of 588 transgender adults living in all Federal Districts of Russia (mean age 24.0 ± standard deviation 6.7) was included in the final analysis.

The study found that:

  • 45.1% and 24.0% of transgender people had clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression, respectively
  • There is no statistically significant differences in the prevalence of anxiety and depression among those who identified as a transgender man, a transgender woman, or other transgender identities
  • The anxiety and depression mean scores in the sample were statistically significantly higher than in the general population (p < 0.001)
  • There is no statistically significant differences in the level of depression and anxiety symptoms among respondents in various locations of the respondents (i.e. Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities)

This study, said the researchers, again supports already established findings that transgender people have higher rates of clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety.

As the researchers stated: “The minority stress model suggests that the discrimination, prejudice, and stigma experienced by many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people can lead to anxiety, particularly in social situations.” Also, “greater exposure to discrimination is associated with more symptoms of depression and anxiety among transgender people.”

There is, therefore, “the need for further research on the psychological well-being and mental health of transgender people. The identified frequency of anxiety and depression symptoms among transgender people… is concerning and requires immediate action to improve the availability and quality of medical and psychological care for this group of people.”

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