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Mental Health Burden Increased for Gender-Minority College Students

Odds of having at least one mental health problem greater for GM versus cisgender students

FRIDAY, Aug. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Gender-minority (GM) students have an increased likelihood of having mental health problems compared with cisgender students, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Sarah Ketchen Lipson, Ph.D., from Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues used data from a mobile survey of 65,213 randomly selected students at 71 U.S. campuses, including 1,237 GM students, to examine their mental health status. Outcomes included symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-injury, and suicidality, which were assessed with widely used, clinically validated screening instruments.

The researchers found that the prevalence of symptoms was significantly higher in GM students versus cisgender students across mental health measures. Overall, 45 and 78 percent of cisgender and GM students, respectively, met the criteria for one or more of the reported mental health outcomes. The odds of having at least one mental health problem were increased 4.3 times in association with GM status.

“Findings underscore the importance of institutions addressing the needs of GM students, increasing capacity to deliver mental health services responsive to the lived realities GM students face, and a broader urgency to shape the evidence base for clinical care and social policies that protect GM adolescents and young adults in this country,” the authors write.

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