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J Gay Lesbian Ment Health. 2016;20(4):329-349. doi: 10.1080/19359705.2016.1207581. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

Transgender Youth and Suicidal Behaviors: Applying the Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide.

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Department of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University.
Institute of Human Development and Social Change, New York University.
Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin.


The interpersonal psychological theory of suicide (IPTS) was used to examine suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 129 transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) youth. Youth were categorized according to their gender identities: female-to-male (FTM), male-to-female (MTF), female-to-different-gender (FTDG), and male-to-different gender (MTDG). Higher percentages of suicidal ideation were reported by FTDG and FTM youth; and higher percentages of suicide attempts by FTDG and MTDG youth. Perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness were significantly related to suicidal ideation and/or suicide attempts. Experiences of painful, provocative and harmful events and acquired capability significantly predicted suicide attempts. The findings support IPTS in explaining suicidal behaviors among TGNC youth. Implications for prevention and intervention efforts are discussed.


female-to-different-gender (FTDG); female-to-male (FTM); gender nonconforming; interpersonal psychological theory of suicide (IPTS); male-to-different-gender (MTDF); male-to-female (MTF); perceived burdensomeness; suicidal ideation; suicide attempt; thwarted belongingness; transgender; youth

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