Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Kristina B. Hood

Second Advisor

Faye Z. Belgrave

Third Advisor

Eric G. Benotsch

Fourth Advisor

Bethany M. Coston

Fifth Advisor

Mary A. Wagaman


Nonbinary individuals, or those who do not exclusively identify with a male or female gender, have gained increasing recognition and representation within the past ten years. Despite these steps forward, nonbinary individuals still experience higher rates of sexual assault, police brutality/harassment, job-related discrimination, and erasure when compared to binary transgender individuals, or gender-diverse individuals who exclusively identify as male or female. These disparities in violence, discriminatory practices, and erasure have been linked to exceptionally high rates of depression and anxiety in nonbinary people within the U.S. Thus, efforts to improve nonbinary mental health are critically needed. Previous research finds that resilience factors, or those which alleviate the effects of stressors, positively influence mental health outcomes (i.e., depression and anxiety) in binary transgender participants. However, there currently is a dearth of research findings and normed models of resilience for this population. Thus, the current inquiry uses a transcendental phenomenological method to examine experiences of resiliency in practice in response to depression and anxiety in nonbinary people within the U.S.

Findings revealed that nonbinary people use a variety of useful resilience tools (i.e., community, distraction, therapy, and therapeutic techniques) to combat symptoms of depression and anxiety. Themes also emerged related to the conditions by which these tactics are used (i.e., work/school, interpersonal stress, the current pandemics, identity). While the current research is supported by previous findings on resilience in gender diverse individuals, this study is both novel in its examination of study outcomes in a sample entirely comprised of nonbinary individuals and its intersectional approach. In line with these findings, the present study has the potential to first address a significant gap in the psychological literature on this group. Secondly, these findings can be used to inform future qualitative and quantitative research, clinical practice, and both employment and education-related policy work. Lastly, and most importantly, the current research identifies that nonbinary individuals are a unique, multi-faceted, resilient community who should be celebrated as such.


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