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Background: Transgender women are at high risk of depression and suicidal ideation. The interpersonal theory of suicide proposes that suicidal ideation could be a consequence of high interpersonal needs (thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness). The current study tests this theory and investigates whether depression could mediate the relationship between interpersonal needs and suicidal ideation among transgender women in Shenyang, China.

Methods: A total of 198 transgender women were recruited by snowball sampling. A cross-sectional study was conducted through a structured questionnaire. Suicidal ideation, depression, and interpersonal needs were assessed. Path analysis was used to carry out the research goals and the mediating effect of depression was tested.

Results: There were nearly 37% of the participants reported lifetime suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation was positively correlated with thwarted belongingness (t = −5.53, p < 0.01) and perceived burdensomeness (t = −5.02, p < 0.01). The direct effect from thwarted belongingness to suicidal ideation via depression was statistically significant (Std. β = 0.232, p < 0.01). Depression could also mediate the indirect path from perceived burdensomeness to suicidal ideation through depression (Std. β = 0.222, p < 0.01) although the direct path between them was not significant (Std. β = 0.046, p = 0.693).

Conclusions: Depression fully mediated the relationship between perceived burdensomeness and suicidal ideation, and partially mediate the relationship between thwarted belongingness and suicidal ideation. To reduce the risk of suicidal ideation among transgender women, interventions targeting thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and depression are needed.

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© 2022 Chang, Zeng, Qiao, Wang, Xu, Yu, Ma, Wang, Li and Cai. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

APA Citation

Chang, R., Zeng, C., Qiao, S., Wang, H., Xu, C., & Yu, X. et al. (2022). The Mediating Effect of Depression on the Relation Between Interpersonal Needs and Suicidal Ideation Among Chinese Transgender Women. Frontiers In Public Health, 9.