Differences in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Quality of Physical and Mental Health Between Transgender and Cisgender Sexual Minorities

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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been shown to increase risk for negative health outcomes. Recent work has shown that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals, on average, have higher ACEs scores compared to heterosexual individuals. However, past ACEs research involving LGB people did not assess the influence of experiencing childhood neglect and risk for poor health among this population. Further, this previous work has been limited to LGB people, excluding transgender and gender nonconforming experiences. The purpose of this project was to assess the relationship between ACEs, gender-identity, and physical and mental health status. As part of a larger community-based participatory research study, we surveyed 477 sexual and gender minority individuals about mental and physical health, ACEs, and sociodemographic characteristics. Transgender participants reported emotional abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect more frequently compared to cisgender LGB people. Two logistic regression models were run to assess the influence of ACE on quality of physical and mental health. The model adjusted for ACE scores showed that ACEs explained 17.6% of the variance in mental health. Our findings show that neglect is a common experience among LGB/TGN and needs to be assessed along with other ACE domains. Further, there may exist unique adverse experiences among this population during childhood resulting from social stigma. Future research should identify and quantify these experiences as well as assess the role of adversity during adulthood on mental health.




Elsevier Ltd.

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Journal of Psychiatric Research