Department of Educational Psychology



Elliot A. Tebbe

Date of this Version



Published in Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 2023 doi:10.1037/sgd0000613


Copyright © 2022 American Psychological Association. Used by permission.

“This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal.”


Expanding upon the larger body of literature that focuses on adverse mental health concerns among trans and nonbinary (TNB) populations, emerging research has recently begun to investigate positive outcomes and psychological well-being among TNB people. This study contributes to this growing area of research by investigating one subjectively experienced aspect of well-being—happiness—among TNB adults residing in the central Great Plains region of the United States. For this study, 20 TNB adults participated in semistructured interviews where they were asked to reflect on how they experienced happiness generally and in relation to being TNB, and what fostered or impeded their happiness. Data were analyzed using constructivist grounded theory analysis (Charmaz, 2014). Four major themes emerged from the data that formed the core components of happiness: Authenticity, Connection to Others, Perspective Shift, and Agency. Two additional major themes included factors that fueled happiness and those that detracted from happiness. Subthemes and categories within each major theme are described. From these themes, a theoretical model of TNB happiness was developed. Theoretical and counseling implications are discussed, along with noted limitations and areas for future research.

Supplemental materials are attached below.