Transgender dehumanization and mental health: Microaggressions, sexual objectification, and shame


Using structural equation modeling in a national, nonprobabilistic sample of 292 transgender women and men, this project extends the pantheoretical dehumanization framework by testing direct and indirect relations between dehumanization (i.e., a higher-order construct from experiences of transgender microaggressions and sexual objectification), internalization processes (i.e., internalized transnegativity, self-objectification), shame, and general mental health. The model explained 55% of the variance in general mental health. Direct relations between dehumanization and all internalization processes were positive and significant. Internalized transnegativity and shame were significant, negative, direct predictors of mental health, but neither dehumanization nor self-objectification were significant direct predictors of transgender mental health. Both self-objectification and internalized transnegativity directly predicted more feelings of shame. However, only shame yielded a significant indirect pathway from dehumanization to mental health. The indirect relations from self-objectification and internalized transnegativity to mental health through shame were significant. We discuss research, advocacy, and clinical implications.

In The Counseling Psychologist
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Cory J. Cascalheira
Cory J. Cascalheira
Doctoral Candidate in Counseling Psychology

Research interests include (1) the examination of stress-based, multilevel determinants and mechanisms conferring risk for LGBTQ+ health disparities (e.g., substance misuse); and (2) the use of computational methods (i.e., artificial intelligence) and big data to understand LGBTQ+ health behaviors and outcomes. Clinical interests include ACT, CBT, CPT, and MI.