Study Says Support Helps Transgender Kids Avoid Mental Health Struggles

It's the most important factor.

Although research has previously seemed to suggest that transgender children are more likely to suffer from anxiety, the results of a new study is shifting researchers' way of thinking. While it is true that transgender individuals are more likely to attempt suicide than the general public (41 percent to 4.6 percent), and more likely to suffer from depression, the assumption was that transgender teens are more prone to anxiety and other mental disorders.

"The thinking has always been that kids who are not acting gender-stereotypically are basically destined to have mental health problems," Kristina Olson of the University of Washington told NBC News.  "In our study, that's not the case."

Olsen's team conducted a study that was just published in the journal Pediatrics. 73 children, both transgender and non-transgender from ages 3 to 12, participated in the study. The transgender children showed no significant increases in depression or anxiety when compared to the general public. 

The conclusion?

"Socially transitioned transgender children who are supported in their gender identity have developmentally normative levels of depression and only minimal elevations in anxiety, suggesting that psychopathology is not inevitable within this group," according to the study.

Jazz Jennings, a transgender teen and LGBT advocate, holds a copy of her book.

In others words, support from family and the community is essential to helping transgender children avoid mental health problems. And the medical community seems to agree.

"I have been seeing more and more kids who are absolutely thriving and happy, especially as communities and families become more aware of the importance of accepting and supporting these kids as they are," Dr. Illana Sherer of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center at the University Of California, San Francisco told The Inquisitr.

Many transgender kids' own experience resonate with the study's findings.

"I have always had a supportive family and felt accepted," said teenager Evie Priestman of Virginia. "I was raised in Northern Virginia where the schools I go to are very open and teach you to be yourself. I was never concerned because I came from a very diverse area."

In the end, providing transgender kids with love and support could be the most important thing that they need.

Cover image via a katz /