Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Dr. Michael Scheel

Date of this Version

Summer 7-15-2020


Cassidy, K. (2020). Well-being in trans and gender diverse individuals: An investigation of chosen family support. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education Counseling Psychology, Under the Supervision of Professor Michael Scheel. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2020

Copyright 2020 Kendal Cassidy


Trans and gender diverse (TGD) individuals experience unique minority stressors that increase their experiences of psychological distress, and prior research has suggested social support may have protective factors for these unique stressors (Başar et al., 2016; Bockting et al., 2013; Clements-Nolle et al., 2006; Hull & Ortyl, 2018; Pflum et al., 2015; Lombardi et al., 2002; Staples et al., 2018; Tebbe & Moradi, 2016); however, little is understood about chosen family for TGD populations, and how chosen family might relate to minority stressors and mental health. It is also understood that mental illness and well-being reside on separate continuum, but limited research has explored the experiences of a more positive and theoretically grounded conceptualization of well-being with TGD populations (Keyes, 2005). The present study explored whether chosen family support moderates the relationships between discrimination and rejection from family of origin with well-being and psychological distress. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to explore the fit of the proposed moderation. Results indicate a poor fit for the moderation model, but found significant direct effects for chosen family support and rejection from family of origin with well-being and psychological distress. These results indicate an importance of helping to facilitate chosen family support in the lives of TGD people, but also suggests that rejection from family of origin has a detrimental impact on mental health that chosen family support does not seem to ameliorate.

Advisor: Dr. Michael Scheel, PhD, ABPP