Purpose: This study investigated the association between sexual orientation, victimization, and suicide risk-related outcomes among youth attending public high schools in San Francisco.
Methods: Data from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey were analyzed using bivariate and logistic regression methods for complex samples to examine the relationship between sexual orientation, victimization, and three suicide risk-related outcomes (sadness/depression, suicide planning, and attempting suicide) while controlling for demographics and substance use.
Results: Lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) youth reported significantly higher rates of substance use, victimization, and suicide risk-related outcomes than heterosexual youth. However, in the controlled regression models, victimization was a significant predictor of sadness/depression and suicide attempts, regardless of sexual orientation. There was a significant interaction effect between sexual orientation and victimization on suicide planning, with heterosexual youth more affected than LGB youth.
Conclusions: Results underscore the deleterious effect of victimization on suicide risk-related outcomes, regardless of sexual orientation. As LGB youth continue to report higher rates of victimization, effective violence prevention approaches must focus on reducing violence among youth, specifically LGB youth. Additional research should focus on identification of other factors that may help further explain elevated suicide risk among LGB youth.
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