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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU: Transgender College Students Face Enormous Mental Health Disparities

The largest and most comprehensive mental health survey of college students in the U.S. reveals that students who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, and nonbinary face enormous mental health disparities relative to their peers.

In a first-of-its-kind study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers and collaborators found that gender-minority students (those whose genders differ from the genders assigned them at birth) are between two and four times more likely to experience mental health problems than the rest of their peers.

“There has never been a more important time for colleges and universities to take action to protect and support trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary students on campus,” says study lead author Dr. Sarah Ketchen Lipson, assistant professor of health law, policy & management at BUSPH.

The research team — which also included Dr. Julia Raifman, assistant professor of health law, policy & management, Dr. Sari Reisner of Harvard Medical School and The Fenway Institute, and Ms. Sara Abelson of the University of Michigan School of Public Health — looked at rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-injury, and suicidality in a sample of over 1,200 gender-minority students from 71 colleges and universities. About 78 percent of the gender-minority students included in the study met the criteria for one or more mental health problems.

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