Our Research

Current Project: Expanding Knowledge about Gender Dysphoria

Current Project

Our most current research project, Expanding Knowledge about Gender Dysphoria, a photo-elicitation exploration of experiences of gender dysphoria, emerged in response to the needs of the TGD community for more accurate, nuanced, and in-depth narratives about living with gender dysphoria.

This study is a two-phase research project targeting a diverse range of trans and non-binary adults. Historically, experiences of gender dysphoria have often been reduced to a single narrative; in reality, these experiences vary across transgender individuals. Gaining more accurate information about the ways in which gender dysphoria is experienced among a diverse transgender individuals is a critical aspect of ensuring that transgender individuals have access to informed and affirmative care from mental-health and medical providers.

Please see the video copies of our informed consent below. The copies posted on this website do not replace the informed consent in the online survey.



Previous Projects

We have been dedicated to conducting transgender-affirmative research since 2010. Please take a look at some of our previous research projects and the articles they have produced.

Project Title: Project #Queery (PI: Dr. Shelly L. Craig; Co-I Austin)

The project aim was to explore the ways that online spaces influence the resilience and coping of sexual and gender minority youth across the United States and Canada

Project Title: Bridging Efforts to Enhance Safety and Support for the Transgender Community (PI: Dr. Ashley Austin)

The aim of this survey research was to gather information from transgender individuals regarding their medical, social, and interpersonal experiences associated with living authentically in an effort to enhance the development and delivery of more affirmative services.

Project Title: AFFIRM (PI: Dr. Shelley L. Craig, Co-I: Dr. Ashley Austin)

The aim of this research is to establish an affirmative, empirically supported cognitive behavioral intervention to reduce psychological distress and improve coping among youth with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

Project Title: Social Work Speaks Out (PIs: Dr. Shelley L. Craig, Dr. Michael Dentato, Dr. Lori Messinger)

The aim of this research was to explore the experiences of transgender and gender-diverse individuals in Schools of Social Work across North America.

Project Title In Their Words: Experiences of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Young Adults (PI: Dr. Ashley Austin)

The aim of this qualitative study was to give voice to the experiences of understanding and navigating a transgender identity within social contexts dominated by a cisgender and binary world view.

Selected Publications

Austin, A., Craig, S. L., D’Souza, S., & McInroy, L. B. (2020) Examining Suicide Risk among Transgender Youth: Identifying Intervenable Risk Factors. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Austin, A., Craig, S. L., Navega, N. & McInroy, L. B. (2020). "It’s my safe space: The life-saving role of the internet in the lives of transgender and gender diverse youth. International Journal of Transgender Health, https://doi.org/10.1080/15532739.2019.1700202

Austin, A., Craig, S. L., Dentato, M. P., Roseman, S., & McInroy, L. (2019). Elucidating transgender students’ experiences of microaggressions in social work programs: Next steps for creating inclusive educational contexts. Social Work Education, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2019.1575956

Austin, A., Craig, S. L., & D’Souza (2018). An AFFIRMative cognitive behavioral intervention for transgender youth: Preliminary effectiveness. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice DOI: 10.1037/pro0000154

Austin, A. & Goodman R. (2017). Perceptions of transition related health and mental health services among transgender adults. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, doi/full/10.1080/10538720.2017.1408515

Austin, A. (2017). Transgender and gender diverse children: Considerations for affirmative social work practice. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal. doi:10.1007/s10560-017-0507-3

Austin, A., Craig, S. L., & Alessi, E. J. (2017). Affirmative cognitive behavioral therapy with transgender and gender nonconforming adults. Special Issue: Clinical Issues and Affirmative Treatment with Transgender Clients, Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 40, 141-156.

Austin, A. & Goodman, R. (2017). The impact of social connectedness and internalized transphobic stigma on self-esteem among transgender and gender non-conforming adults. Journal of Homosexuality, 64(6), 825-841. doi/full/10.1080/00918369.2016.1236587

Austin, A. (2016). “There I am”: A grounded theory study of young adults navigating a transgender or gender nonconforming identity within a context of oppression and invisibility. Sex Roles, 75 (5-6), 215-230. doi: 10.1007/s11199-016-0600-7

Austin, A., Craig, S. L., & McInroy, L. B. (2016). Toward transgender affirmative social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 52(3), 297-310. doi: 10.1080/10437797.2016.1174637

Austin, A. (2016). Activism and Advocacy for the Transgender Community: Stop Violence and Create Peace through Transgender Affirmative Change. Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia of Trends and Controversies in the Justice System.

Austin, A. & Craig, S. L. (2015). Transgender affirmative cognitive behavioral therapy: Clinical considerations and applications. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(1), 21-29. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038642