Navigating Mental Health Challenges: The Connection Between Transnegativity and Depression, Anxiety, and Suicide Risk

Young adult with a look of sadness on their face

As a transgender psychotherapist, my goal often is to provide support and education for individuals who are navigating their gender identity journey, and also link the latest research that helps us to better understand our mental health challenges. One crucial aspect of this work is comprehending the mental health challenges faced by the transgender community. A recent systematic review published in 2021 sheds light on the relationship between internalized transnegativity and various mental health outcomes, while also highlighting the importance of protective factors. In this blog post, we will explore the key findings of the study and discuss their implications for mental health care.

Internalized Transnegativity and Mental Health Outcomes

Transgender individuals often face discrimination, prejudice, and marginalization. Internalized transnegativity refers to the process by which these negative attitudes and experiences are absorbed by the individual, leading to self-devaluation and negative beliefs about oneself. The study analyzed 33 articles, which highlighted the prevalence of depression, anxiety, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicidal tendencies among transgender individuals.

Key findings from the systematic review include:

  • There is a strong association between internalized transnegativity and depression, anxiety, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicidal tendencies in transgender populations.
  • Transgender individuals with higher levels of internalized transnegativity tend to experience greater psychological distress.
  • Experiences of discrimination, rejection, and stigma contribute to the development of internalized transnegativity.

Protective Factors for Mental Health

In addition to understanding the risks associated with internalized transnegativity, the systematic review also examined protective factors that can help mitigate these negative mental health outcomes. Some key protective factors identified in the study include:

  • Social support: Transgender individuals who have strong social support networks tend to report lower levels of internalized transnegativity and better mental health outcomes. This includes support from friends, family, and transgender community members.
  • Affirming environments: Environments that affirm and validate transgender individuals’ gender identities can help buffer against the effects of internalized transnegativity.
  • Resilience: Developing personal resilience, including effective coping strategies and self-acceptance, can help transgender individuals manage the negative effects of internalized transnegativity.

Implications for Mental Health Care

The study’s findings underscore the importance of addressing internalized transnegativity in mental health care for transgender individuals. Some recommendations include:

  • Providing affirmative and supportive mental health services that validate and respect the individual’s gender identity.
  • Incorporating interventions that specifically target internalized transnegativity and help develop self-acceptance.
  • Enhancing social support networks and fostering connections with the transgender community.
  • Fostering resilience and adaptive coping strategies for transgender individuals to navigate challenges related to their gender identity.

In conclusion, this systematic review highlights the need for mental health care providers to address internalized transnegativity and its negative impact on mental health outcomes in transgender populations. By focusing on protective factors and supportive interventions, we can help promote the overall well-being and resilience of transgender individuals.


Inderbinen, M., Schaefer, K., Schneeberger, A., Gaab, J., & Garcia Nuñez, D. (2021). Relationship of Internalized Transnegativity and Protective Factors With Depression, Anxiety, Non-suicidal Self-Injury and Suicidal Tendency in Trans Populations: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12, 636513.

Disclaimer: This blog shares general information only, not professional advice or recommendations. Consult healthcare providers for personal guidance. Decisions based on content are the reader's responsibility. Thank you.

Clayre runs a group practice of three queer and trans therapists, including youth therapist Audrey Wolfe, RCC, LGBT therapist Camber Giberson, RCC, CCC, and gender-affirming therapist Clayre Sessoms, RP, RCT, RCC, CCC, ATR-P. Work with us: book a session.

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