Family, School, and Peer Support Are Associated With Rates of Violence Victimization and Self-Harm Among Gender Minority and Cisgender Youth.

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PURPOSE: Gender minority (GM) youth experience high rates of violence, and research on protective factors to reduce violence victimization and self-harm is lacking. The purpose of this study was to determine how family, school, peer, and community support influenced rates of violence victimization and self-harm among GM and cisgender adolescents.

METHODS: This research uses data from the 2017 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (N = 18,451). The main independent variable was gender, dichotomized into GM and cisgender, and the secondary independent variables were family, school, community, and peer support. Dependent variables were sexual and dating violence, suicide attempts, and nonsuicidal self-injury. Logistic regression models were built for the four dependent variables, including demographics, support scores, and interaction terms between gender and support.

RESULTS: Six percent of high school students in New Mexico identified as GM are unsure of their gender. GM students experienced higher rates of violence and self-harm and lower levels of support than cisgender students. Among all students, family support was associated with lower odds of sexual violence and self-harm, while school support was associated with lower odds of dating violence and nonsuicidal self-injury. There were significant interactions between gender, violence, and support. The protective effects of support were less pronounced for GM students than for cisgender students.

CONCLUSIONS: Family and school support are associated with lower rates of some forms of violence and self-harm among adolescents. Additional support may be necessary to reduce harm among GM adolescents, who are at higher risk for violence and its sequelae.



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The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine