One in Four Older Transgender Adults Contemplated Suicide in Last Year

Facing more adverse conditions has additive effect on risk for contemplating suicide
One in Four Older Transgender Adults Contemplated Suicide in Last Year
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

TUESDAY, Nov. 21, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- The more different types of adverse conditions that older transgender persons face, the more likely they are to contemplate suicide, according to a study published online Nov. 19 in Aging and Mental Health.

Hugh Klein, Ph.D., from the Kensington Research Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Thomas Alex Washington, Ph.D., from California State University-Long Beach, used data from the 2015 U.S. National Transgender Survey to examine five domains of potentially syndemic effects (workplace issues, interactions with professionals, using public services, personal safety, and socioeconomic disadvantages) on the likelihood of contemplating suicide among 3,724 transgender Americans (aged 50 years and older).

The researchers found that more than one-fourth (25.8 percent) of older transgender people acknowledged having thought about ending their lives at least once the previous year. The odds of contemplating suicide increased from 96 to 121 percent among people experiencing any of the examined problems and from 258 to 1,552 percent depending on the syndemic effect domain in question. Exposure to any of the domains' problems elevated the risk for contemplating suicide by 276 percent, and exposure to all of the problems examined increased the risk by 861 percent when items were combined. When controlling for the influence of other potentially relevant factors, the syndemic effects measure remained significant.

"This study demonstrates that most older transgender individuals encounter persistent challenges in various domains of their lives, significantly increasing their risk of contemplating suicide," Klein said in a statement. "These challenges interact in a syndemic manner, amplifying the risk of suicidal ideation."

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