Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Bryan Cochran

Commitee Members

Elizabeth Hubble, Jennifer Waltz


transgender, mental health care, bias, knowledge, stigma


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


Transgender individuals may present for treatment with a variety of mental health needs, both related and peripheral to their gender identity and expression. Compounding stigma and other life stressors elevate mental health risks in transgender communities, and the barriers to mental health services are manifold. As such, the current research study was designed to determine the competency of mental health care providers to address the unique needs of transgender consumers. Online surveys gauged mental health providers’ knowledge of transgender issues, implicit and explicit transphobic attitudes, as well as treatment decisions with transgender and cisgender consumers; moreover, workplace resources and infrastructure were assessed. Three hypotheses were tested: (1) that types of providers (i.e., different degrees and training) would vary on their implicit transphobic attitudes, explicit transphobic attitudes, and transgender-related knowledge; (2) that explicit and implicit attitudes would predict treatment of transgender consumers; and (3) that knowledge would be predictive of implicit and explicit attitudes. While implicit attitudes were not found to be significant in any of these hypotheses, explicit attitudes varied across provider types, F(4,69) = 7.025, p < .01, and were significantly correlated with knowledge b = -.481, t(79) = -4.875, p < .001. Knowledge also varied significantly across provider type F(4,66) = 2.65, p = .041. Finally, explicit attitudes were significantly correlated with differences in treatment decisions in working with transgender and cisgender consumers b = .333, t(60) = 2.735, p = .008. These results suggest that improving transgender-related competencies among mental health providers might facilitate reductions in explicit biases, thereby alleviating certain instances of discriminatory treatment toward transgender individuals in mental health care settings. Implications for advocacy and organizational change are discussed.



© Copyright 2016 Hillary Gleason