Demographic and psychosocial factors associated with recent suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among trans and gender diverse people in Australia
By Adam O Hill, Teddy Cook, Ruth McNair, Natalie Amos, Marina Carman, Ellis Hartland, Anthony Lyons, and Adam Bourne
Published 14 February 2023
Trans and gender diverse people have been identified as one of the most at-risk populations globally for suicidal ideation, attempts and death by suicide. Recent Australian research has found that 43-44% of trans people who have attempted suicide in their lifetime compared to 3.2% of people in the general population. Exposure to gender-based violence, exclusion and discrimination have been linked to lower psychological wellbeing and a higher likelihood of suicidal behaviour in trans and gender diverse people. In contrast, protective factors associated with lower suicidal ideation and attempts include feelings of community and family support, relative life stability, respectful environments, as well as guidelines and policies that affirm and support trans people. Although there has been a growing body of research in this area, there remains a lack of knowledge about other factors that may increase rates of suicidality and suicide attempt in trans people.
Research and findings
This study sample is from the ‘Private Lives 3’ survey (Hill, Bourne, et al., 2020), which is a cross-sectional, anonymous, online, national survey of the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people aged 18+ years in Australia. Researchers filtered survey responses to identify 1,466 participants who were trans or gender diverse and who had answered questions about recent suicidal ideation or suicide attempt.
The data examined five key areas including demographics, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, the experience of stigma and discrimination, community connectedness, and the level that trans people felt their gender identity was respected when accessing health services.
From the data, researchers found that 62.4% of survey respondents reported suicidal ideation in the past 12 months, with 9.5% having attempted suicide in the past 12 months.
The research also showed that suicidal ideation was higher for younger trans people who experienced feelings of exclusion due to their gender identity. Suicide attempts were also higher for younger people who experienced sexual harassment based on gender.
Further research is recommended into the role of external social factors such as exclusion and harassment for gender diverse people and examining ways protective measures may assist in preventing suicidality.