LGBTQIA+ youth are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers

LGBTQIA+ youth are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers

LGBTQIA+ youth are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers

Abstract: Youth who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community are twice as likely to experience suicidal thoughts and attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

Source: University of Georgia

New research from the University of Georgia suggests that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth have disproportionately high rates of suicidal thoughts, planning, and attempts compared to their heterosexual peers.

The study found that LGB adolescents were twice as likely to attempt suicide, plan a suicide attempt, and experience suicidal thoughts than their heterosexual classmates.

They are also more likely to experience trauma, such as sexual or dating violence, the study found. Previous research has linked exposure to trauma and suicidal ideation and attempts, but the current study found a significant difference between how trauma affects heterosexual youth and its effects on LGB teenagers.

“The main message of this paper is that among a group of survivors of this type of violence, those who identify as a sexual minority are more likely to develop suicidal thoughts and behaviors,” said Émilie Ellis, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in the College of Public Health. .

“We know that LGBTQ+ people are much more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors, but they are also much more likely to experience trauma and develop post-traumatic stress after being exposed to that trauma.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most likely reasons why LGB youth experience more traumatic stress than heterosexuals is discrimination.

They are more likely to experience childhood rejection and bullying because of their sexual orientation at home, and are also more likely to experience bullying and victimization at school.

The research findings are troubling and likely underrepresent the number of suicidal LGB youth due to underreporting and the stigma surrounding suicide, Ellis said.

“There could be consequences if you admit that you have suicidal ideation,” said Ellis, who recently earned a doctorate in human development and family science with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“We have to think about how many more kids are out there who didn’t take this survey and who experienced trauma and suicidal ideation but said no because they were worried someone would tell a parent.”

More than one in five students thought about suicide

Researchers analyzed 14,690 responses to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides representative data from public and private high school students nationwide.

The study’s dataset contained responses from 2015 to 2019, with a focus on students who identified their sexual orientation.

Overall, nearly one in five students (20%) who responded to the survey reported that they had seriously considered suicide in the past year. More than 7% of students actually tried to kill themselves.

More than one in every 10 students has experienced sexual violence. Of those who reported dating, 7% reported at least one experience of sexual violence in their dating life, and 7.4% said they experienced physical violence at least once during a relationship.

The researchers found that exposure to sexual and dating violence was associated with an increased likelihood of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning, and suicide attempts across all sex groups. However, exposure to violence was a significantly better predictor of suicidal thoughts and behavior for sexual minority youth.

Previous research has shown that LGB people are more likely to experience childhood sexual abuse and dating violence than their heterosexual peers, and that they are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after violent incidents. This puts them at greater risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, the researchers said.

LGBTQIA+ youth are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers
The study found that LGB adolescents were twice as likely to attempt suicide, plan a suicide attempt, and experience suicidal thoughts than their heterosexual classmates. The image is in the public domain

Sexual abuse had the greatest impact on suicidal thoughts and attempts among gay and lesbian youth, while dating sexual violence had the greatest impact on bisexual adolescents. This finding suggests that the approach to dealing with suicide and violence among LGB youth should not be one-size-fits-all, the researchers said.

School policies could strengthen suicide prevention efforts

See also

This shows a woman writing in a diary

Gay-straight alliances, anti-homophobia policies, and strengthening relationships between staff and students have been shown to be effective in reducing rates of suicidal ideation and attempts among sexual minority students. Building on these existing structures and educating teachers, school staff, nurses, and counselors about the increased rates of dating and sexual violence among LGB youth could strengthen suicide prevention efforts.

“There are dating violence and suicide prevention programs, but we need more of them and we need to include interventions that specifically address violence among the LGB population,” Ellis said. “We know that these types of violence are associated with higher suicidality. We go where we already have programs in place.”

About this psychology research news

Author: Cole Sosebee
Source: University of Georgia
Contact: Cole Sosebee – University of Georgia
Picture: The image is in the public domain

Original research: Closed access.
Is exposure to trauma more harmful for young members of sexual minorities? Differences in the association between trauma and suicide in a nationally representative sample of US youth and implications for suicide prevention” Emilie Ellis et al. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma


Abstract

Is exposure to trauma more harmful for young members of sexual minorities? Differences in the association between trauma and suicide in a nationally representative sample of US youth and implications for suicide prevention

Purpose

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth experience disproportionately high rates of suicidality and exposure to traumatic events, such as sexual and teen-related violence. Rates of suicidality and exposure to traumatic events also vary by sexual minority subgroup. The purpose of this study was to: (1) investigate the influence of LGB identity on the relationship between exposure to violence and suicide; and (2) examine variations by gender identity.

method

A subsample of respondents who reported their sexual identity in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (n = 14,690) was used to examine whether the associations between sexual and relationship violence with suicidal outcomes (suicidal ideation, planning, and attempted suicide) depend on sexual affiliation. the identity of the respondent. Logistic regression models were fitted with an interaction effect to quantify the heterogeneity of associations across identity strata.

the results

Overall interaction tests mostly indicated heterogeneity in the association between sexual violence and physical violence in dating. Several contrasts of strata associations suggest significant differences in likelihood between sexual minority respondents and their heterosexual peers.

Conclusion

While exposure to violence is widely associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing any type of suicidality, LGB and questioning youth were significantly more likely to experience suicidality compared to their heterosexual peers. Gay and lesbian youth showed the highest likelihood of experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors among survivors of sexual violence, while bisexual youth may be more at risk after dating violence. Implications for future research and suicide prevention are discussed.

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