Transgender Individuals' Perceptions of Maternal Support in Central Appalachia

Angela Aaron, Sharon S. Rostosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The psychosocial experiences of transgender individuals are shaped by specific cultural beliefs and values that influence family and community interactions. Using a constant-comparative approach to thematic analysis, we analyzed in-depth interviews with 25 transgender-identified adults in Central Appalachia and discovered that their mothers play a crucial role in their social support experiences. Participants described supportive and unsupportive interactions with their mothers and how their mothers' attitudes and behaviors evolved in positive directions over time. They also perceived that their mothers played a key role in influencing how other family and community members behaved toward them. Participants gave meaning to their mothers' behaviors by placing them in the context of strong cultural values about distinct gender roles, family loyalty, religious conservatism, and pride of place. These findings serve as a reminder to family mental health practitioners and health service providers to directly assess family and community strengths and draw on these resources to facilitate the well-being of clients from stigmatized and under-resourced populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The dissertation on which this paper is based was partially funded by a dissertation grant to the first author from the University of Kentucky. This article is based, in part, on Dr. Aaron's dissertation under the direction of Dr. Rostosky. Thanks to Pam Remer, PhD, Ellen Riggle, PhD, Daniel Walinsky, PhD, Rusty Barrett, PhD, and Alicia Fedewa, PhD for their contributions to the development of the dissertation project. The graduate students on the team at the University of Kentucky provided valuable feedback, suggestions, and support throughout the process. Finally, sincerest thanks to the participants who generously shared their life experiences.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • cultural values
  • family
  • mother
  • rural
  • social support
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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