Sexual Orientation and Risk of Suicide Attempts Among a Representative Sample of Youth

Division of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass., USA.
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.73). 05/1999; 153(5):487-93. DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.153.5.487
Source: PubMed


To examine whether sexual orientation is an independent risk factor for reported suicide attempts.
Data were from the Massachusetts 1995 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which included a question on sexual orientation. Ten drug use, 5 sexual behavior, and 5 violence/ victimization variables chosen a priori were assessed as possible mediating variables. Hierarchical logistic regression models determined independent predictors of suicide attempts.
Public high schools in Massachusetts.
Representative, population-based sample of high school students. Three thousand three hundred sixty-five (81%) of 4167 responded to both the suicide attempt and sexual orientation questions.
Self-reported suicide attempt in the past year.
One hundred twenty-nine students (3.8%) self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure of their sexual orientation (GLBN). Gender, age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and all 20 health-risk behaviors were associated with suicide attempt (P<.001). Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure youth were 3.41 times more likely to report a suicide attempt. Based on hierarchical logistic regression, female gender (odds ratio [OR], 4.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.30-5.93), GLBN orientation (OR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.39-3.37), Hispanic ethnicity (OR, 2.21; 95% CI, 1.44-3.99), higher levels of violence/ victimization (OR, 2.06; 95% CI, 1.80-2.36), and more drug use (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.22-1.41) were independent predictors of suicide attempt (P<.001). Gender-specific analyses for predicting suicide attempts revealed that among males the OR for GLBN orientation increased (OR, 3.74; 95% CI, 1.92-7.28), while among females GLBN orientation was not a significant predictor of suicide.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure youth report a significantly increased frequency of suicide attempts. Sexual orientation has an independent association with suicide attempts for males, while for females the association of sexual orientation with suicidality may be mediated by drug use and violence/victimization behaviors.

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Available from: R. Cameron Wolf, Jan 03, 2014
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    • "Reports indicate high rates of depression and suicidal ideation among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth as compared to heterosexual youth (Garofalo et al., 1999; Gibson, 1989; Noell & Ochs, 2001; Remafedi, 1999; Safren & Heimberg, 1999). Additional research has shown that YMSM in particular have high rates of depression (Botnick et al., 2002; Kipke et al., 2007; Perdue et al., 2003; Salomon et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The rate of HIV infection among young men who have sex with men (YMSM) is increasing in the United States, and targeted research is needed to inform interventions aimed at reducing HIV transmission in this population. This study aims to understand the association between HIV status disclosure and sexual risk behavior among HIV-positive YMSM. A particular focus is given to depressive symptoms and their potential role in explaining the association between HIV disclosure and sexual risk behavior. In a sample of 991 YMSM receiving care at 20 clinics across the United States, Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to explore these associations. Approximately one-half (52.4 %) of participants reported disclosing to their current sexual/romantic partner. Disclosure to family members was negatively associated with sexual risk behavior. Also, depressive symptoms were positively associated with sexual risk behavior. We discuss the implications of our findings for future research and intervention.
    Journal of Behavioral Medicine 03/2015; 38(3). DOI:10.1007/s10865-015-9624-7 · 3.10 Impact Factor
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    • "With the exclusively heterosexual group as the referent for both genders, adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for all weight-related outcomes were calculated for each sexual orientation subgroup using multivariate logistic regression, adjusting for age (as a continuous variable) and race/ethnicity, based on findings of prior studies [11] [21]. In addition, ORs for having engaged in any unhealthy weight loss behavior were calculated for nonexclusively heterosexual youth as a combined groupdthat is, sexual minority youth, including those classified as heterosexual with same-sex partners, gay/lesbian, and bisexualdbecause this group as a whole may be at elevated risk for a number of adverse health outcomes [22] [23]. Those who responded " not sure " to the question on sexual orientation were not included in this combined group because previous research suggests that many unsure youth ultimately self-identify as exclusively heterosexual [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth may experience significant body dissatisfaction. We examined sexual orientation differences in self-perceived weight status and the prevalence of potentially dangerous weight control behaviors in a representative sample of adolescents. Data were obtained from 12,984 youth between 2003 and 2009 over four cycles of the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a statewide survey of ninth- through 12th-grade students. Self-perceived weight status and past-month unhealthy weight control behaviors (fasting >24 hours, using diet pills, and vomiting or using laxatives) were compared among gay/lesbian, bisexual, or self-identified heterosexual youth with same-sex partners, unsure youth, and exclusively heterosexual youth using logistic regression, adjusting for age and race/ethnicity. Compared with exclusively heterosexual males, heterosexual males with prior same-sex partners and bisexual males were more likely to self-perceive as overweight despite being of healthy weight or underweight (respectively, adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.68-4.05; and AOR, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.64-4.00). Compared with exclusively heterosexual females, lesbians and bisexual females were more likely to self-perceive as being of healthy weight or underweight despite being overweight or obese (respectively, AOR, 3.17; 95% CI, 1.15-8.71; and AOR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.20-3.33). Unhealthy weight control behaviors were significantly more prevalent among sexual minority males (32.5%; AOR, 4.38; 95% CI, 3.38-5.67) and females (34.7%; AOR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.85-2.78) when considered together relative to exclusively heterosexual males (9.7%) and females (18.8%). One third of sexual minority youth engage in hazardous weight control behaviors. Future research should investigate underlying mechanisms and determine whether clinicians should routinely screen for these behaviors.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 10/2013; 54(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.08.021 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    • "In contrast to previous studies (Fergusson et al., 1999; van Heeringen & Vincke, 2000), these findings showed suicide-risk LGBQ participants did not significantly differ from heterosexual counterparts on various measures of suicidal ideation or depressive symptoms. Instead, in support of other earlier findings, LGBQ reported more previous suicide attempts (e.g., Eisenberg & Resnick, 2006; Garofalo et al., 1999), greater likelihood disclose their suicidal intent (Ciro et al., 2005), and were more likely to predict future suicide attempts. These results show some support for unique suicidal characteristics by sexual orientation. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present findings offer new perspectives on differences between suicide-risk heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning: LGBQ). Results from an anonymous online survey, employing standardized scales, showed that LGBQ participants reported significantly greater suicide-risk than heterosexuals. Seventy-nine matched pairs of suicide-risk LGBQ and heterosexuals were examined by individual suicide risk factors. Results showed no significant differences on separate measures of suicidal ideation; however, LGBQ participants were more likely to report suicide attempts, disclosure of suicidal intentions, and prediction of future suicide attempts. The LGBQ group also indicated greater likelihood of going online to develop new personal relationships. Multiple regression modeling was conducted to guide outreach and support efforts, revealing unique factors predicting help-seeking denial of suicide-risk LGBQ. Implications include the importance of online support and considering sexual minorities not just as a potential high-risk group, but also as a population with unique suicide risks and behaviors.
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