Resilience and Collective Action: Exploring Buffers Against Minority Stress for Transgender Individuals

Aaron S. Breslow, Melanie E. Brewster, Brandon L. Velez, Stephanie Wong, Elizabeth Geiger, Blake Soderstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


With a national sample of 552 transgender adults, the present study tested hypotheses drawn from minority stress theory and positive psychology research on stress-ameliorating processes. Specifically, the present study examined the relations of minority stressors (i.e., antitransgender discrimination, stigma awareness, and internalized transphobia) and individual- and group-level buffers (i.e., resilience and collective action) of minority stress. As expected, each minority stressor was positively correlated with psychological distress. In terms of buffers, resilience—though not collective action—was negatively correlated with psychological distress. Additionally, stigma awareness— but not internalized transphobia—mediated the relation of antitransgender discrimination with higher psychological distress. Moderation analyses indicated that resilience did not moderate any of the relations of the minority stressors with psychological distress. However, contrary to prediction, collective action strengthened the positive relation of internalized transphobia with psychological distress. Furthermore, at high levels of collective action, internalized transphobia became a significant mediator of the discrimination-distress relation. Strategies for developing individual (e.g., resilience building strategies) and group-level (e.g., engagement in collective action) interventions targeted toward transgender individuals who experience discrimination are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-265
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Collective action
  • Minority stress
  • Resilience
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)


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