Family Characteristics, Transgender Identity and Emotional Symptoms in Adolescence: A Population Survey Study

Riittakerttu Kaltiala, Elias Heino, Mauri Marttunen, Sari Fröjd

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Sociodemographic and psychosocial family factors have profound implications for adolescent development, identity formation and mental health during the adolescent years. We explored the associations of sociodemographic and psychosocial family factors with transgender identity in adolescence and the role of these factors in the associations between gender identity and emotional disorders. Data from a large adolescent population survey from Finland were analysed using logistic regression models. Reporting transgender identity was associated with mother’s low level of education, accumulating family life events, lack of family cohesion, perceived lack of family economic resources and female sex. A lack of family cohesion further differentiated between adolescents reporting identifying with the opposite sex and those reporting non-binary/other gender identification. The associations between transgender identity, depression and anxiety were attenuated but did not level out when family factors were controlled for. Transgender identity in adolescence is associated with socioeconomic and psychosocial family factors that are known correlates of negative outcomes in mental health and psychosocial well-being. However, transgender identification is also associated with emotional disorders independent of these family factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2948
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • adolescence
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • family
  • transgender

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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