Research reports the perpetuation of communal traits by transgender women, possibly to affirm their core gender identity. Transgender women in the United States are nearly 6 times more likely than the general population to experience significant depressive symptoms. Studies among non-transgender individuals in the United States demonstrate that agentic traits are associated with less depressive symptoms, while studies on communal traits are more inconsistent in their association with indicators of depression. Our study’s central objective was to examine the associations of agency and communion with depression and resilience (i.e., personal competence and acceptance of self and life) among transgender women living part-time and full-time in the female gender role. Participants in the United States were recruited through online and offline purposive sampling. One hundred and twenty-two transgender women (primarily Caucasian; ages ranging from 22 to 75) completed a web-based questionnaire. Results indicated that agentic and communal traits were significantly associated with decreased symptoms of depression and increased levels of resilience. One component of resilience – acceptance of self and life – mediated the relationship between agentic/communal traits and depression, however, for communal traits this pattern was only found for transgender women living in the female role full-time. There were no significant differences on depressive symptoms and one component of resilience - personal competence – among transgender women living full-time compared to transgender women living in the female role part-time. Transgender women living full-time in the female gender role reported higher levels of agentic/communal traits and acceptance of self and life compared to those living part-time in the female gender role. Our findings are discussed in the context of mental health among transgender women.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 30, 2012
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