Online Program

Order amid chaos: Findings from a modified meta-analysis on variation in estimates of transgender suicidality

Monday, November 2, 2015

Noah Adams, MSW, Dalhousie School of Social Work, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
Estimates of suicidal ideation and attempts (suicidality), among transgender adults, vary widely, with attempts ranging from 3% to 63% and ideation ranging from 4% to 89%. Despite this, the literature is largely silent on the cause of this phenomenon, or its impact on the accuracy of transgender suicidality statistics, prevention endeavours, and policy reform.

My study addresses this knowledge gap, through a meta-analysis that incorporates original data collection. The meta-analysis includes transgender suicidality research, published in North America, since 1997 and original data is collected from interviews with the first, or second, authors of this research. The interviews are analyzed using aspects of grounded theory and lead to the selection of five variables thought to have an impact on transgender suicidality rates. The effect of these variables is then measured against the suicidality rate in the 20 studies that measured it 'ever', rather than over a specific period (e.g. past year).  

This analysis has resulted in more specific suicidality rates, descriptive statistics on the demographics of transgender suicidality research, and guidelines for managing the impact of five variables on transgender suicidality research. The first three variables (ethnicity, education, and gender identification and sex at birth) reveal the impact of demographics on transgender suicidality, while the last two (suicidality questions asked and inclusion criteria) demonstrate the impact of researcher's choices on both their study's demographics and suicidality rate. These findings have implications for the reliability of future transgender suicidality research, suicidality prevention efforts, legislative activism, and public health policy.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
List three demographic variables that lead to variation in measurement of transgender suicidality. List two methodological variables that lead to variation in measurement of transgender suicidality. Identify the approximate rate of transgender suicidality, relative to educational level attained, ethnicity, and gender identification and sex at birth. Describe the impact that research design has on the measurement of transgender suicidality. Describe the effect of variation, in estimates of transgender suicidality, on the creation of suicidality prevention resources and public policy specific to transgender individuals.

Keyword(s): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Suicide

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for a number transgender health research projects, during the course of my graduate work, including the current project on suicidality and previously on the outcomes of phalloplasty. I am generally interested in research within the larger field of transgender health, as well as in the newly expanding sphere of autism self-advocacy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3308.0: Relevant LGBT Topics 2