Purpose: Our purpose was to assess the association between Gender-Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) advisors' self-efficacy to address transgender issues and their students' depressive symptoms, by students' gender identity (i.e., transgender vs. cisgender). We predict that higher advisor self-efficacy will be associated with decreases in student depressive symptoms for transgender students, though not necessarily for cisgender students. Methods: Data come from surveys of student members (n = 366) and advisors (n = 58) of 38 purposively sampled GSAs in Massachusetts high schools, in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. We used a linear mixed-effects model to assess the association between advisor self-efficacy to address transgender issues and student change in Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression-10 scores between the beginning and end of the school year by gender identity, adjusting for student covariates. Results: Students were 10-20 years old (mean = 15, standard deviation [SD] = 1.4); 28% were transgender, 28% were students of color, and 86% were lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer/questioning or other non-heterosexual identity. The GSA advisor self-efficacy scores ranged from 13 to 25 with a mean of 20.4 (SD = 3.0). Greater advisor self-efficacy to address transgender issues was associated with a decrease in depressive symptoms for transgender students (estimate = -0.47, p = 0.01), but not for cisgender students. Conclusions: GSA advisor self-efficacy to address transgender issues could be protective for transgender student depressive symptoms. Thus, increasing advisor self-efficacy to address transgender issues may help decrease depressive symptomatology for transgender youth, and intervention work in this area is needed to bolster this claim.
- gender and sexuality alliances
- mental health
- supportive adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health