Adolescent sexual orientation and suicide risk: evidence from a national study

Am J Public Health. 2001 Aug;91(8):1276-81. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.8.1276.

Abstract

Objectives: Sexual orientation has been a debated risk factor for adolescent suicidality over the past 20 years. This study examined the link between sexual orientation and suicidality, using data that are nationally representative and that include other critical youth suicide risk factors.

Methods: Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were examined. Survey logistic regression was used to control for sample design effects.

Results: There is a strong link between adolescent sexual orientation and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The strong effect of sexual orientation on suicidal thoughts is mediated by critical youth suicide risk factors, including depression, hopelessness, alcohol abuse, recent suicide attempts by a peer or a family member, and experiences of victimization.

Conclusions: The findings provide strong evidence that sexual minority youths are more likely than their peers to think about and attempt suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bisexuality / psychology
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Heterosexuality / psychology
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality / psychology
  • Homosexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Schools
  • Sexuality*
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology