Background: Do well-documented studies based on community samples corroborate previous findings from non-representative samples which indicate a higher risk of suicide attempt among gays, lesbians and bisexuals (GLB) during adolescence?
Material and methods: A review of several recent well-documented, non-European studies of attempted suicide comparing representative samples of GLB young people with heterosexuals.
Results: The life prevalence of attempted suicide among GLBs in the studies reviewed range from 20.5% to 35.3%. This indicates that the risk of suicide attempts among GLBs is two to six times higher than among heterosexuals. The studies also document higher levels of general risk factors for suicide attempts among GLBs.
Interpretation: Future studies should examine whether the higher rate of suicide attempts among GLBs can be attributed to a higher prevalence of the general risk factors and also describe in more detail the risk factors that are unique to the situation of young gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Preventive measures must be directed at young people in their early teens and should include support to those with an awareness of same-sex attractions as well as information and programmes aimed at changing the attitudes and behaviour of the general adolescent population.