Impact of Victimization on Risk of Suicide Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual High School Students in San Francisco

ETR Associates, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 3.61). 04/2012; 50(4):418-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.07.009
Source: PubMed


This study investigated the association between sexual orientation, victimization, and suicide risk-related outcomes among youth attending public high schools in San Francisco.
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.
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.
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.

Download full-text


Available from: Kelly Whitaker,
  • Source
    • "A number of studies reported elevated levels/rates using questionnaires: alcohol (Marshal, et al., 2013b; Marshal, et al., 2012b; Pesola, et al., 2014; Russell & Joyner, 2001), drugs (Birkett, et al., 2009; Marshal, et al., 2013b; Marshal, et al., 2012b); and single items: alcohol (Button, et al., 2012; Faulkner & Cranston, 1998; Garofalo, et al., 1998; Hagger- Johnson et al., 2013; Konishi, Saewyc, Homma, & Poon, 2013; Ortiz-Hernandez, Tello, & Valdes, 2009), drugs (Button, et al., 2012; Duncan & Hatzenbuehler, 2014; DuRant, et al., 1998; Faulkner & Cranston, 1998; Garofalo, et al., 1998; Kann, et al., 2011; Konishi, et al., 2013; Lampinen, et al., 2006; Newcomb, Birkett, Corliss, & Mustanski, 2014; Orenstein, 2001; Poteat, et al., 2009; Seil, et al., 2014; Shields, et al., 2012; Tucker, Ellickson, & Klein, 2008; Zhao, et al., 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many studies, reviews, and meta-analyses have reported elevated mental health problems for sexual minority (SM) individuals. This systematic review provides an update by including numerous recent studies, and explores whether SM individuals are at increased risk across selected mental health problems as per dimensions of sexual orientation (SO), genders, life-stages, geographic regions, and in higher quality studies. A systematic search in PubMed produced 199 studies appropriate for review. A clear majority of studies reported elevated risks for depression, anxiety, suicide attempts or suicides, and substance-related problems for SM men and women, as adolescents or adults from many geographic regions, and with varied SO dimensions (behaviour, attraction, identity), especially in more recent and higher quality studies. One notable exception is alcohol-related problems, where many studies reported zero or reversed effects, especially for SM men. All SM subgroups were at increased risk, but bisexual individuals were at highest risk in the majority of studies. Other subgroup and gender differences are more complex and are discussed. The review supports the long-standing mental health risk proposition for SM individuals, overall and as subgroups.
    International Review of Psychiatry 11/2015; 27(5):1-19. DOI:10.3109/09540261.2015.1083949 · 1.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Among the groups at higher risk of violence and discrimination, lesbian, gay men, and bisexual may frequently be victims of prejudice, physical or sexual violence, verbal harassment, discrimination, and homophobia because of their sexual orientation [7]. Such episodes may occur in the workplace [8], in school [9,10], in forms of intimate partner violence [11,12], and in access to health care services [13,14]. These experiences of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, may directly contribute to a poorer health status. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This cross-sectional study assessed the frequency of discrimination, harassment, and violence and the associated factors among a random sample of 1000 lesbian, gay men, and bisexual women and men recruited from randomly selected public venues in Italy. A face-to-face interview sought information about: socio-demographics, frequency of discrimination, verbal harassment, and physical and sexual violence because of their sexual orientation, and their fear of suffering each types of victimization. In the whole sample, 28.3% and 11.9% self-reported at least one episode of victimization because of the sexual orientation in their lifetime and in the last year. Those unmarried, compared to the others, and with a college degree or higher, compared to less educated respondents, were more likely to have experienced an episode of victimization in their lifetime. Lesbians, compared to bisexual, had almost twice the odds of experiencing an episode of victimization. The most commonly reported experiences across the lifetime were verbal harassment, discrimination, and physical or sexual violence. Among those who had experienced one episode of victimization in their lifetime, 42.1% self-reported one episode in the last year. Perceived fear of suffering violence because of their sexual orientation, measured on a 10-point Likert scale with a higher score indicative of greater fear, ranges from 5.7 for verbal harassment to 6.4 for discrimination. Participants were more likely to have fear of suffering victimization because of their sexual orientation if they were female (compared to male), lesbian and gay men (compared to bisexual women and men), unmarried (compared to the others), and if they have already suffered an episode of victimization (compared to those who have not suffered an episode). The study provides important insights into the violence experiences of lesbian, gay men, and bisexual women and men and the results may serve for improving policy initiatives to reduce such episodes.
    PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e74446. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0074446 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sexual minority youth (youth who are attracted to the same sex or endorse a gay/lesbian/bisexual identity) report significantly higher rates of depression and suicidality than heterosexual youth. The minority stress hypothesis contends that the stigma and discrimination experienced by sexual minority youth create a hostile social environment that can lead to chronic stress and mental health problems. The present study used longitudinal mediation models to directly test sexual minority-specific victimization as a potential explanatory mechanism of the mental health disparities of sexual minority youth. One hundred ninety-seven adolescents (14-19 years old; 70 % female; 29 % sexual minority) completed measures of sexual minority-specific victimization, depressive symptoms, and suicidality at two time points 6 months apart. Compared to heterosexual youth, sexual minority youth reported higher levels of sexual minority-specific victimization, depressive symptoms, and suicidality. Sexual minority-specific victimization significantly mediated the effect of sexual minority status on depressive symptoms and suicidality. The results support the minority stress hypothesis that targeted harassment and victimization are partly responsible for the higher levels of depressive symptoms and suicidality found in sexual minority youth. This research lends support to public policy initiatives that reduce bullying and hate crimes because reducing victimization can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of sexual minority youth.
    Journal of Youth and Adolescence 01/2013; 42(3). DOI:10.1007/s10964-012-9901-5 · 2.72 Impact Factor
Show more