Minority Stress Among Transgender Adolescents: The Role of Peer Victimization, School Belonging, and Ethnicity
Transgender youth peer relations is understudied when compared to lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth (LGB). Likewise, transgender youth of color (YOC) are also understudied given the difficulties associated with accessing the sample. This study examines the relations among peer victimization, school belonging, and mental health with an ethnically diverse sample of transgender adolescents (N = 4778). Invariance testing and structural equation modeling were employed to explore these relations as well as the potential moderating role of ethnic minority status. Findings demonstrate that an alarming number of transgender youth were exposed to victimization and that victimization predicted mental health issues like suicidal ideation. Furthermore, analyses showed that peer victimization was associated with diminished school belonging. School belonging was associated with better mental health and appeared to mediate the relation between victimization and mental health issues. Ethnic minority status did not moderate these associations. Implications for research are discussed.