Non-suicidal self-injury, suicide ideation, and past suicide attempts: Comparison between transgender and gender diverse veterans and non-veterans.J Affect Disord. 2019 12 01; 259:186-194.JA
Transgender and gender diverse (TGD) individuals, especially veterans, experience elevated rates of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicide related behaviors compared to gender majority individuals. Research has yet to compare TGD veterans to non-veterans or look at correlates of NSSI and related behaviors to suicide related outcomes. This study examines prevalence and suicide related correlates of NSSI among TGD veterans and TGD non-veterans.
Data analyzed in the were part of the Trans Lifeline Mental Health Survey. Both TGD veterans (N = 313) and non-veterans (N = 3,972) completed an online, cross-sectional survey that included self-report measures of NSSI, suicidal ideation (SI), and suicidal attempt (SA) along with lifetime hospitalization and avoidance of care due to NSSI.
Results of this paper indicate that prevalence of NSSI, SI, and SA are elevated in both the TGD veterans and non-veteran subpopulations. Further, veterans compared to non-veterans have a lower prevalence of NSSI but higher prevalence of hospitalization when self-harm is inflicted, reflecting more healthcare utilization or increased severity of NSSI episodes. Additionally, veterans were less likely to avoid care due to NSSI. Further, veteran status seemed to be a protective factor against demographic differences that increased rates of NSSI history in non-veteran TGD individuals.
The limitations of this study include its cross-sectional study design, one question assessing SA, and few TGD male veterans.
NSSI is an important risk factor in future suicide related outcome such as SI and SA. Further, differences in healthcare utilization among TGD veterans and non-veterans are apparent.