Social Support, Exposure to Violence and Transphobia, and Correlates of Depression Among Male-to-Female Transgender Women With a History of Sex Work.

Published: April 14, 2011

Abstract

Objectives. We determined racial/ethnic differences in social support and exposure to violence and transphobia, and explored correlates of depression among male-to-female transgender women with a history of sex work (THSW). Methods. A total of 573 THSW who worked or resided in San Francisco or Oakland, California, were recruited through street outreach and referrals and completed individual interviews using a structured questionnaire. Results. More than half of Latina and White participants were depressed on the basis of Center For Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale scores. About three quarters of White participants reported ever having suicidal ideation, of whom 64% reported suicide attempts. Half of the participants reported being physically assaulted, and 38% reported being raped or sexually assaulted before age 18 years. White and African American participants reported transphobia experiences more frequently than did others. Social support, transphobia, suicidal ideation, and levels of income and education were significantly and independently correlated with depression. Conclusions. For THSW, psychological vulnerability must be addressed in counseling, support groups, and health promotion programs specifically tailored to race/ethnicity. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print April 14, 2011: e1-e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.197285).

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