Biomedical Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2020


Transgender people experience significant mental health inequities. The goal of this study was to evaluate disparities related to suicide attempt in the past 12 months and ever heroin use in cisgender versus transgender adolescents, and identify specific resiliency factors associated with a decrease in the prevalence of suicide attempt and heroin use in transgender adolescents. This study is a cross-sectional, secondary analysis of the 2017 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey among high school students. The odds of suicide attempt were 5.5-fold greater, and the odds of lifetime heroin use were nearly 14-fold greater, for transgender compared to cisgender students. Resiliency factors which demonstrated statistically significant effect modification resulted in an increased magnitude of the association between transgender identity and suicide attempt or heroin use, contrary to our hypothesis. More research is needed to develop interventions which improve the mental health of transgender adolescents.


transgender, youth, mental, heroin, suicide, resiliency

Document Type




Degree Name

Biomedical Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

First Committee Member (Chair)

Melissa Schiff, MD, MPH

Second Committee Member

Cristina Murrary-Krezan, MS

Third Committee Member

Andrew Sussman, PhD, MCRP