Predictors and Mental Health Benefits of Chosen Name Use Among Transgender Youth

Amanda M. Pollitt, Salvatore Ioverno, Stephen T. Russell, Gu Li, Arnold H. Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Chosen name use among transgender youth (youth whose gender identities are different from their sex assigned at birth) can be part of the complex process of aligning gender presentation with gender identity and can promote mental health. However, little is known about the factors that predict whether or not transgender youth have a chosen name and outcomes of chosen name use, especially in specific social contexts. We examined, among a sample of 129 transgender youth from three cities in the United States, differences in sociodemographic characteristics and mental health outcomes between transgender youth with and without a chosen name and, among those with a chosen name, predictors and mental health benefits of being able to use a chosen name at home, school, and work. There were few differences between transgender youth with and without a chosen name. Among transgender youth with a chosen name, disclosure of gender identity to supportive family and teachers predicted chosen name use at home and school, respectively. Chosen name use was associated with large reductions in negative health outcomes and relatively smaller improvements in positive mental health outcomes. Our results show that chosen name use is part of the gender affirmation process for some, but not all, transgender youth and is associated with better mental health among transgender youth who adopt a chosen name.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-341
Number of pages22
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • chosen name
  • mental health
  • protective factors
  • social environment
  • transgender
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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