School Climate for Transgender Youth: A Mixed Method Investigation of Student Experiences and School Responses

Jenifer K. McGuire, Charles R. Anderson, Russell B. Toomey, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

211 Scopus citations

Abstract

Transgender youth experience negative school environments and may not benefit directly from interventions defined to support Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) youth. This study utilized a multi-method approach to consider the issues that transgender students encounter in school environments. Using data from two studies, survey data (total n = 2260, 68 transgender youth) from study 1 and focus groups (n = 35) from study 2, we examine transgender youth's experience of school harassment, school strategies implemented to reduce harassment, the protective role of supportive school personnel, and individual responses to harassment, including dropping out and changing schools. In both studies, we found that school harassment due to transgender identity was pervasive, and this harassment was negatively associated with feelings of safety. When schools took action to reduce harassment, students reported greater connections to school personnel. Those connections were associated with greater feelings of safety. The indirect effects of school strategies to reduce harassment on feelings of safety through connection to adults were also significant. Focus group data illuminate specific processes schools can engage in to benefit youth, and how the youth experience those interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1188
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume39
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 28 2010

Keywords

  • Harassment
  • School climate
  • Sexual minority
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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