University of Oulu

Sares-Jäske, L., Czimbalmos, M., Majlander, S. et al. Gendered Differences in Experiences of Bullying and Mental Health Among Transgender and Cisgender Youth. J Youth Adolescence 52, 1531–1548 (2023).

Gendered differences in experiences of bullying and mental health among transgender and cisgender youth

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Author: Sares-Jäske, Laura1; Czimbalmos, Mercedesz1,2; Majlander, Satu1;
Organizations: 1Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, FI-00271, Helsinki, Finland
2Åbo Akademi University, Tuomiokirkontori 3, FI-20500, Turku, Finland
3University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-06


Even though previous studies have shown that transgender youth have poorer mental health and more experiences of being bullied than their cisgender counterparts, and that bullying associates with poorer mental health, knowledge on such associations in different gender identity groups is scarce. This study investigated how mental health problems and experiences of being bullied appear across different gender identity groups, and how bullying is associated with mental health among the groups in question. Data from the Finnish School Health Promotion 2021 study (n = 152,880, mean age 16.2 years (standard deviation 1.22)) was used and categorized into four gender identity groups: cisgender girls (n = 76,521), cisgender boys (n = 69,735), transfeminine youth (n = 1317), and transmasculine youth (n = 5307). Transgender youth experienced more bullying and reported poorer mental health than cisgender youth. While transfeminine youth faced the most bullying, transmasculine youth had the most mental health symptoms. In each group, bullying associated with poorer mental health. Compared to cisgender boys without bullying experiences, odds of poorer mental health were dozens-fold among transmasculine youth with weekly bullying experiences. In addition, compared to cisgender boys with bullying experiences, odds of poorer mental health were greater among all other gender identity groups with bullying experiences, and among transmasculine youth in particular (e.g., odds ratio of generalized anxiety = 8.36 (95% confidence interval, 6.59–10.6)). Bullying is associated with poorer mental health in all youth, but transgender youth, and especially transmasculine youth, may be in an even more vulnerable position for its implications. This suggests that there is a need for improving effective measures to decrease bullying in schools and to improve wellbeing of transgender youth.

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Series: Journal of youth and adolescence
ISSN: 0047-2891
ISSN-E: 1573-6601
ISSN-L: 0047-2891
Volume: 521
Pages: 1531 - 1548
DOI: 10.1007/s10964-023-01786-7
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 5141 Sociology
516 Educational sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. Open Access funding provided by Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit