The relation between sexual orientation and suicide attempts in Austria

Arch Sex Behav. 2010 Dec;39(6):1403-14. doi: 10.1007/s10508-009-9597-0. Epub 2010 Feb 4.


Previous studies indicate that homosexual or bisexual individuals are at a higher risk of attempting suicide compared to heterosexuals. To overcome biases in these studies, more rigorous definitions of "suicide attempts" and the assessment of multiple dimensions of sexual orientation are needed. In addition, studies from the German speaking region are sparse, especially those not recruiting participants from the gay or lesbian communities. We solicited self-reported suicide attempts among 1,382 Austrian adults recruited through structured snowball sampling from students' social networks. Suicide attempts were more frequently reported by those participants with homosexual or bisexual fantasies, partner preference, behavior, and self-identification, compared to their heterosexually classified counterparts. This was true for any dimension of sexual orientation and for suicide attempts with intent to die or suicide attempts that required medical treatment. Our Austrian study confirmed existing evidence that homosexual and bisexual individuals are at an increased risk for attempting suicide. This should be considered in suicide preventive efforts.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Bisexuality / psychology
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality / psychology
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult