The relationship between suicide risk and sexual orientation: results of a population-based study

Am J Public Health. 1998 Jan;88(1):57-60. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.1.57.


Objectives: This study examined the relationship between sexual orientation and suicide risk in a population-based sample of adolescents.

Methods: Participants were selected from a cross-sectional, statewide survey of junior and senior public high school students. All males (n = 212) and females (n = 182) who described themselves as bisexual/homosexual were compared with 336 gender-matched heterosexual respondents on three outcome measures: suicidal ideation, intent, and self-reported attempts. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between sexual orientation and outcome measures with adjustment for demographic characteristics.

Results: Suicide attempts were reported by 28. 1 % of bisexual/homosexual males, 20.5% of bisexual/homosexual females, 14.5% of heterosexual females, and 4.2% of heterosexual males. For males, but not females, bisexual/homosexual orientation was associated with suicidal intent (odds ratio [OR] = 3.61 95% confidence interval [CI = 1.40, 9.36) and attempts (OR=7.10; 95% CI=3.05, 16.53).

Conclusions: There is evidence of a strong association between suicide risk and bisexuality or homosexuality in males.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Suicide*