Saturday, January 18, 2020
Liberty Ballroom J, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Current research on transgender populations suggests that there are significant differences between Male-to-Female (MtF) and Female-to-Male (FtM) transgender populations. Specifically, the research to date suggests that MtF individuals report worse physical and mental health than their FtM counterparts. Some researchers with other populations (e.g. caregivers of older adults) have discovered that research findings with specific populations are not replicated in population-based studies. We wanted to see if research findings on significant differences between MtF and FtM transgender populations are replicated in population-based studies. Specifically, are there significant differences between MtF and FtM transgender participants on physical health and mental health variables in a population-based study? We hypothesized that MtF transgender participants will report significantly worse physical and mental health compared to their FtM peers.
This study is a secondary data analysis of The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is a population-based public health database that identifies MtF and FtM transgender individuals and contains items on physical and mental health. Using independent-sample t-tests, we compared physical and mental health variables for 652 participants who self-identified as transgender MtF (n=412) or FtM (n=240).
Contrary to the literature, we found no significant differences between MtF and FtM participants on physical health, mental health, life satisfaction, and stress. These findings suggest that there may be differences between transgender individuals who participate in studies that focus on LGBT+ issues verses broader population-based studies. Future research should examine other population-based studies to see if this finding is replicated.