Getting Out of Gender Binary, Getting Out of Depression

Science Fields

The Impact of Social Support on Depression for Trans People

How the social support received from family members, friends, and significant others influence the coping of especially the trans individuals with depression has been an important and necessary line of research in recent years. Individual, societal and organizational behaviours related to transphobia are still observed even in the most tolerant societies and influence every aspect of trans individuals’ lives. In this research, with the keywords determined as “trans”, “depression”, and “social support”, it was found that social support has a direct and powerful effect on how successfully transgender individuals deal with depression.

According to the findings in the literature, depression is more prevalent among trans individuals when compared to the general population. Factors that affect depression such as having suicidal ideas, not being open about gender identity, social stigmatization, being exposed to violence, and verbal and sexual harassment are observed more in trans individuals than the general population. While these factors are even more frequently seen in societies where transphobia is common, social support that the trans individuals receive becomes less. Many studies collecting data with different research designs and measurement techniques emphasize a strong relationship between getting less social support and having depressed feelings.

Findings point out that inviting a family member, friend or significant other to the therapy session together with the trans individual could be beneficial. When personal characteristics and individual differences are taken into account, a useful type of therapy could be couple or family therapy. On the other hand, this psychological distress should be addressed before it reaches major depressive levels and before it is too late for these interventions to be effective. Apart from the interventions, more supportive social environments should be created and awareness about the importance of providing social support should be raised to eliminate the psychological distress that trans individuals experience in their daily lives.

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*Trans is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behaviour does not conform to the traditional and typical identities, expressions and behaviours associated with the binary understanding of sexes.


  • 1. Candar, İ. (2019). Getting Out of Gender Binary, Getting Out of Depression: The Impact of Social Support from Family, Friends and Significant Others. Koç University Undergraduate Psychology Journal, 1(7), 24-30.