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J Couns Psychol. 2009 Jan 1;56(1):202-209.

Collective Self-Esteem as a Coping Resource for Male-to-Female Transsexuals.

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1
UCLA School of Medicine.

Abstract

The fear of experiencing discrimination often provokes symptoms of psychological distress. One coping resource is positive identification with one's social group-known as collective self-esteem. This preliminary study investigated whether collective self-esteem was related to fears regarding a transsexual identity and psychological distress among 53 self-identified male-to-female transsexuals (mean age = 50.79). Participants were recruited from transgender events held in Arizona and California. The majority (81%) reported living full-time as women (mean length of time living as a woman = 6.33 years). Negative feelings about the transsexual community and fears regarding the impact of a transsexual identity were positively related to psychological distress. A regression model revealed that the fear of how a transsexual identity would affect one's life was the best predictor of the severity of psychological distress. These results are consistent with findings from other historically marginalized groups whereby the stress of being stigmatized by society adversely affects mental health.

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