Self-stigmatization, coping and psychopathological symptoms among transgender persons

  • Hommes, M. (Speaker)
  • Alwin Man (Speaker)
  • Arjan Bos (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesTalk or presentation (not at a conference)Academic


    Self-stigmatization, coping and psychopathological symptoms among transgender persons Alwin O. Man, Mark A. Hommes & Arjan E. R. BosFaculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Open University, Heerlen, the NetherlandsIntroduction Research has shown that many people hold negative attitudes towards transgender persons and that transgenders experience stigmatisation in public, at work and in the immediate vicinity (Keuzenkamp & Kuyper, 2013; Norton & Herek, 2012). The awareness of being stigmatised and the social devaluation that stigmatized people experience, can lead to self-stigma. Self-stigma contains both the apprehension of being exposed to stigmatization and the potential internalization of the negative beliefs and feelings associated with the stigmatized condition (Bos, Pryor, Reeder & Stutterheim, 2013). Self-stigmatization may be disrupting life goals (Corrigan, 2012), lead to social isolation and psychopathology (Bos, Pryor, Reeder, and Stutterheim, 2013), limit the social network (Link & Phelan, 2001), lower quality of life and lower self-esteem (Meyer, 2003).Limited research attention has been paid to self-stigmatization and it’s relation with psychopathological symptoms of transgender persons. The present study examined the relationships between self-stigmatization, coping and psychopathological symptoms in transgender persons in different phases of their transition.MethodFor this study we examined the cross-sectional data from 108 transgender persons (pre-transition, transition and post-transition). The transgender participants were all clients of an extramural gender team in the Netherlands. Ethical approval for this study was obtained by the ethics board of Open University.Self-stigma was measured with an adapted version of the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness scale (Boyd Ritsher, Otilingam & Grajales, 2003). Coping styles were measured with the Utrecht Coping List (Schreurs et al., 1993). Psychopathological symptoms were measured with the Symptoms Check List 90 (Arrindel & Ettema, 1973). Results Results demonstrate that self-stigma was positively related to psychological symptoms. Passive emotion-focused coping and active emotion-focused coping were positively associated with self-stigma and psychological symptoms, whereas active problem-focused coping was not related to self-stigma and psychological symptoms. Interestingly, transgender persons in the pre-transition phase experienced more self-stigma and reported more psychopathological symptoms compared to transgenders who were in the transition or post-transition phase.DiscussionThis study shows that self-stigma has a detrimental impact on the psychological well-being of transgender persons. Therefore, we recommend more research on the determinants of self-stigma in this group. Furthermore psychological counseling in the different phases of the transition should pay attention to coping with self-stigma.Finally, interventions should be developed to reduce stigmatization of transgender persons. These interventions should be theory- and evidence based (Bos, Schaalma & Pryor, 2008; Bos, Pryor, Reeder & Stutterheim, 2013.
    Period20 Jun 2016
    Event title24th WPATH Biennial Symposium: Growing: Empowerment, Expertise, Evidence
    Event typeSymposium
    LocationAmsterdam, NetherlandsShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionInternational