Health Status, Mental Health Worsened in U.S. Transgender Adults From 2014 to 2022

Doubling seen for prevalence of frequent mental distress and depression
transgender teen
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

TUESDAY, June 25, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Health status, mental health, and health inequities worsened in the United States from 2014 to 2022 among transgender (TGD) adults, according to a research letter published online June 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Michael Liu, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues evaluated recent trends in health status and mental health among U.S. TGD adults based on data from 1.9 million individuals (0.57 percent transgender) participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The researchers found that between 2014 and 2022, the prevalence of poor or fair health status increased from 26.6 percent to 35.1 percent among TGD adults (annual mean change [AMC], 1.33 percent), but decreased among cisgender adults (AMC, −0.19 percent). Gender identity was associated with significantly different health status trends, indicating that the gap in health status widened between TGD and cisgender adults. Among TGD adults, the prevalence of frequent mental distress increased from 18.8 percent in 2014 to 38.9 percent in 2022 (AMC, 2.82 percent) and from 11.2 percent to 15.5 percent among cisgender adults (AMC, 0.56 percent). For depression, prevalence more than doubled from 19.7 percent to 51.3 percent among TGD adults (AMC, 3.63 percent), whereas smaller increases occurred among cisgender adults (AMC, 0.39 percent). Overall, compared to cisgender adults, worsening of mental health outcomes was significantly more pronounced among TGD adults.

"Our findings highlight the need for the health sector to follow established standards of care and advocate for policies that protect TGD health," the authors write.

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