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Support from family, school help avert substance use among transgender youths

ANI | June 10, 2019 04:41 PM
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Washington D.C [USA], June 10 (ANI): Support from families and schools can help prevent transgender youths from smoking marijuana and cigarettes even if they were targeted by violence, found a study.

The study conducted by the University of British Columbia was published in the journal 'Preventive Medicine Reports'.

"Transgender youth in Canada face unacceptably high levels of violence, and this contributes to substance use," said UBC nursing professor Elizabeth Saewyc, the study's principal investigator.

"However, our research showed that even when transgender youth experience high levels of violence or discrimination, a supportive family and safe school make a difference."

The study analysed data from 323 transgender youth aged 14 to 18 who took the 2014 Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey.

Among transgender youth who reported experiencing high amounts of violence, those who had no family support or caring friends had a 61 per cent probability of smoking tobacco. But that probability dropped to only 20 per cent among those with supportive family and friends.

In addition, youths who reported high family connectedness were about 88 per cent less likely to report smoking cannabis in the past month, compared to those who reported lower family connectedness. For transgender adolescents with high levels of both family and school connectedness, the probability of marijuana use dropped to only two per cent.

Transgender youth reported experiencing an average of 11 out of 29 different types of violence, including bullying, sexual or physical abuse, cyberbullying, sexual harassment and discrimination.

The study found that each additional type of violence increased the odds of marijuana use or binge drinking by 11 per cent, and tobacco use by 12 per cent.

However, youth who reported high levels of two protective factors, such as a supportive family and a safe school, had much lower probabilities of substance use than those with one or no protective factors.

"These findings suggest that supportive families and schools are integral to preventing substance use among transgender youth," said lead author Ryan Watson.

"While we should work to reduce stigma and violence against transgender young, our findings also point to the important role of supportive adults and friends. Caring adults at home and at school are just as essential for our trans adolescents as they are for all youth," he added. (ANI)

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