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Dissertation

The Role of Religiosity, Spirituality, and Peer Support in the Promotion of Resilience in Gender Diverse Youth

10 April 2018

Abstract

Current literature on transgender and gender diverse youth (TGDY) emphasizes the prevalence of risk factors (Stieglitz, 2010). For example, compared to same-aged cisgender peers, TGDY youth have higher levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, history of suicide attempts, self-harm, and inpatient psychiatric stays (Reisner et al., 2015). Resilience [positive adaptation following threat to adaptation] is a construct that has been less frequently studied with this population. The aim of the current study was to examine the role of religiosity and spirituality in the promotion of resilience for the TGDY population. A group of 162 TGDY youth participants (ages 14-23), were recruited through social media platforms (e.g., Tumblr, Twitter, etc.) to anonymously complete an online self-report questionnaire about religiosity, spirituality, and resilience factors. A regression model utilizing study variables (e.g. religiosity, spirituality, peer support, peer attachment) on resilience was found to be significant. Peer attachment variables (e.g., degree of mutual trust, communication, extent of alienation) and peer support variables (e.g. appraisal, tangible, belonging) each significantly contributed to the variance in overall resilience scores. Specifically, peer attachment, perceived peer support, degree of mutual trust, communication, and extent of alienation each significantly contributing to variance in resilience. Spirituality variables (e.g. individual, contextual, environment, transcendental) were found to be significant predictors of resilience, with environmental spirituality significantly contributing to variance seen within the measure of an individual’s overall resilience. Results demonstrated that varying levels of resilience (overall, individual, interpersonal, contextual) were impacted differentially by religiosity, spirituality, peer support, and peer attachment. Therefore, resilience in TGDY may be promoted across different contexts and future research should continue to examine how religiosity and spirituality impacts TGDY across a variety of contexts. This information can be utilized to cultivate promotive factors for TGDY youth through intervention/prevention. In addition, results may provide religious or spiritual organizations with practical information about how to be more inclusive.


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