Mental health practitioners' attitudes towards transgender people: A systematic review of the literature

Suzanne Brown, Jo Kucharska, Magda Marczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A systematic review was conducted to critically evaluate and synthesize literature investigating mental health practitioners' attitudes towards transgender people.

Objective: Three primary objectives were outlined; first, establish whether overall attitudes are positive or negative. Second, explore whether training, education or experience influences attitudes and finally, examine participant demographics in relation to attitude trends.

Method: A systematic electronic search was carried out in March 2017 using Medline, PsycINFO, PsycArticles, CINAHL, ASSIA, and Web of Science electronic databases. Manual citation and ancestral searches were conducted on identified papers. Qualitative, quantitative and mixed method studies were eligible for inclusion. A total of 13 papers of mixed quality were identified.

Results: Existing literature is limited to cross-sectional, quantitative data and fails to investigate differences between implicit and explicit attitudes. Small to moderate convenience samples reduce the generalizability of data. Overall attitudes were positive although negative attitudes were more frequent in male, Caucasian, heterosexual, religious, conservative mental health professionals.

Conclusions: Refined scales are needed to address the unique heterogeneity within transgender populations. Future research should focus on how attitudes impact care provided and employ longitudinal designs to explore the sustainability of targeted attitudinal training.

KEYWORDS: Attitudes, mental health professional, systematic review, transgender
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-24
Number of pages21
Journal International Journal of Transgenderism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2017


  • Attitudes
  • Mental health professionals
  • Systematic review
  • Transgender


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