Summary: Young members of the LGBTQIA+ community are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
Source: University of Georgia
New research from the University of Georgia suggests that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth experience disproportionately high rates of suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts compared to their heterosexual peers.
The study found that LGB teens are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide, plan a suicide attempt, and have suicidal thoughts than their heterosexual classmates.
They were also more likely to experience trauma, such as sexual abuse or dating violence, the research showed. Previous research has drawn links between exposure to trauma and suicidal ideation and attempts, but the current study found a significant difference between how trauma affects heterosexual youth and its effects on LGB adolescents.
“The main message of this article is that among a group of survivors of these types of violence, those who identify as a sexual minority are more likely to develop suicidal thoughts and behaviors,” said Emilie Ellis, lead author of study and postdoctoral. researcher at the College of Public Health.
“We know that LGBTQ+ people are much more likely to have suicidal thoughts and behaviors, but they are also much more likely to have experienced trauma more frequently and to develop post-traumatic stress as a result of these exposures. to trauma.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most likely reasons LGB youth experience more traumatic stress than heterosexuals is discrimination.
They are more likely to be rejected and abused during childhood because of their sexual orientation at home, and they are also more likely to experience bullying and victimization at school.
The survey findings are concerning, and it is likely an underrepresentation of the number of suicidal LGB youth due to under-reporting and stigma around suicide, Ellis said.
“There could be consequences for admitting you’re having suicidal thoughts,” said Ellis, who recently earned her doctorate in human development and family science with a major in marriage and family therapy from the College of Life Sciences. family and UGA consumption.
“We need to think about the number of children who did not receive this survey and who experienced trauma and suicidal ideation, but answered no because they were afraid someone would tell a parent.”
More than one in five students have considered suicide
Researchers analyzed 14,690 responses to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides representative data from public and private high school students across the country.
The study’s dataset included responses from 2015 to 2019, focusing on students who identified their sexual orientation.
Overall, nearly one in five students (20%) who responded to the survey said they had seriously considered suicide in the past year. More than 7% of students have actually attempted suicide.
More than one in 10 students has experienced sexual violence. Of those who said they had dated, 7% reported at least one experience of sexual violence in their dating life, and 7.4% said they had experienced at least physical violence in a romantic relationship.
Researchers found that exposure to sexual and dating violence was associated with an increased likelihood of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning, and suicide attempt across all sexualities. However, exposure to violence was significantly more predictive of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among sexual minority youth.
Previous research has shown that LGB people are more likely to experience childhood sexual abuse and dating violence than their heterosexual peers and more frequently suffer from traumatic stress after violent incidents. This puts them at greater risk of having suicidal thoughts and attempting suicide, the researchers said.
Sexual abuse had the strongest influence on suicidal thoughts and attempts among gay and lesbian youth, while sexual dating violence had the greatest impact on bisexual teens. This finding suggests that the approach to dealing with suicide and violence among LGB youth should not be one-size-fits-all, the researchers said.
School policies could bolster suicide prevention efforts
Gay-straight alliances, anti-homophobia policies, and strengthening staff-student relationships have been shown to reduce rates of suicidal ideation and attempts among sexual minority students. Building on these existing structures and educating teachers, school staff, nurses and counselors about the increased rates of dating and sexual violence among LGB youth could strengthen suicide prevention efforts.
“Dating violence and suicide prevention programs exist, but we need more of them, and we need to include interventions that specifically address violence among LGB populations,” Ellis said. “We know that these types of violence are associated with higher suicidal tendency. Let’s go where we already have programs in place.
About this psychology research news
Author: Cole Sosebee
Source: University of Georgia
Contact: Cole Sosebee – University of Georgia
Image: Image is in public domain
Original research: Access closed.
“Is exposure to trauma more harmful for sexual minority youth? Differences in Trauma-Suicide Associations in a Nationally Representative Sample of American Youth and Implications for Suicide Prevention” by Émilie Ellis et al. Journal of child and adolescent trauma
Is exposure to trauma more harmful for sexual minority youth? Differences in trauma-suicide associations in a nationally representative sample of American youth and implications for suicide prevention
Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth experience disproportionately high rates of suicidality and exposure to traumatic events, such as sexual abuse and teen dating violence. Rates of suicidality and exposure to traumatic events also vary by sexual minority subgroup. The purpose of this study was to: (1) explore the impact of LGB identity on the relationship between exposure to violence and suicide; and (2) examine variations by gender identity.
A subsample of respondents who self-reported their sexual identity in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (n=14,690) was used to examine whether associations between sexual violence and dating violence with outcomes suicidal thoughts (suicidal ideation, planning and attempting suicide) depended on sexual orientation. identity of the respondent. Logistic regression models were fitted with an interaction effect to quantify the heterogeneity of associations between identity strata.
Overall interaction tests primarily indicated heterogeneity of associations between sexual and physical violence in dating. Several stratum association contrasts suggested substantial differences in odds between sexual minority respondents and their heterosexual peers.
While exposure to violence was widely associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing any type of suicidality, LGB and questioning youth were significantly more likely to be suicidal than their heterosexual peers. Gay and lesbian youth have demonstrated the highest likelihood of having suicidal thoughts and behaviors among survivors of sexual violence, while bisexual youth may be at greater risk following dating violence. Implications for future research and suicide prevention are discussed.
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