Buffering against depressive symptoms: Associations between self-compassion, perceived family support and age for transgender and nonbinary individuals

Steven Samrock, Kai Kline, Ashley K. Randall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Transgender and gender nonbinary (TGNB) individuals often report higher levels of depression compared to cisgender individuals. Higher levels of depression in TGNB populations may be partially attributed to a lack of family support, which may be particularly salient for younger individuals. However, two possible protective factors that may mitigate depressive symptoms are self-compassion, defined as an attitude of kindness and understanding towards one’s own imperfections, and perceived support, especially from family. The present study aimed to explore whether self-compassion was negatively associated with self-reported depressive symptoms, and whether perceived family support moderated this association, especially for younger individuals. Participants who were (1) at least 18 years of age, (2) identified as TGNB, and (3) experienced gender dysphoria were eligible for this study. Cross-sectional data from 148 individuals were collected online during May 2020. In support of the hypotheses, self-compassion was negatively associated with depressive symptoms, and perceived family support furthered this association. Additionally, results showed that younger participants (ages 18–24) with lower family support reported the highest levels of depressive symptoms. Taken together, these results suggest that self-compassion and perceived family support may be significant protective factors against depressive symptoms for TGNB individuals, although longitudinal research is needed. Taking a strengths-based perspective, mental health clinicians working with TGNB individuals may consider interventions geared toward increasing self-compassion in daily life and working with clients’ families to increase support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7938
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

Keywords

  • Age
  • Depression
  • Family support
  • Nonbinary
  • Self-compassion
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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