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College Adjustment Among Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students

Meacham, Rebecca Witt (2020) College Adjustment Among Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Not all students make a successful transition to college, putting their degree completion at
risk. The gender minority stress model (Testa et al., 2015) posits that gender minority students
may especially struggle with the transition to college due to unique stressors, such as greater
violence and lower perceptions of safety. This study utilized seven semesters of data (Fall 2015-
Fall 2018) from the National College Health Assessment-IIc (NCHA-IIc; N=241,171) to examine
the relationship between gender and college adjustment (operationalized as emotional distress).
Mediation analysis explored if this relationship was influenced by the experiences of stressors. A
moderation model investigated the relationship between campus residency, emotional distress, and
stressors. Lastly, trends for emotional distress and stressors were examined for stability across
semesters. Results indicated transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) students experience
higher levels of emotional distress and stressors than their cisgender peers. Furthermore, although
living on campus provided a greater feeling of safety for all, TGNC students and cisgender women
who lived on campus reported higher levels of emotional distress. TGNC students reported high,
yet stable levels of emotional distress and stressors across semesters. A sensitivity analysis
examined the relationship between gender, emotional distress, and stressors by parceling TGNC
students by congruence between sex assigned at birth and current gender identity. This study
contributes to the field of college adjustment by addressing disparities of gender minorities and by
examining distinctions between TGNC students who experience congruence and those who are
not. Included are theoretical implications and recommendations for future research.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Meacham, Rebecca Wittrws27@pitt.edurws27
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGalla,
Committee MemberBachman,
Committee MemberChoukas-Bradley,
Committee MemberDeAngelo,
Committee MemberKlein,
Date: 17 May 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 February 2020
Approval Date: 17 May 2020
Submission Date: 21 April 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 120
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Psychology in Education
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: College Adjustment Gender Minority Stress Gender Nonconforming Transgender
Date Deposited: 17 May 2020 17:28
Last Modified: 17 May 2020 17:28


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