Suicide Risk High Among Lesbian and Gay Adolescents

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland contend that lesbian and gay teens are more than three times more likely than their heterosexual classmates to attempt suicide.

The recent study, published in the analyzed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1995. The CDC survey of over 3,300 high school students included questions about sexual orientation and suicide attempts.

The 129 students who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or unsure about their sexual orientation were 3.4 times more likely than self-described heterosexual students to have reported a suicide attempt within previous year.

Study authors concluded, “The dramatic increase in the death rate from suicide among youth (over the past 50 years) makes the identification of significant risk factors a matter of public health importance.” Dr. Robert Garofalo told Reuters Health that he worried the study’s findings would be misinterpreted and noted, “Nothing about homosexuality itself predisposes to suicide…When you consider the isolation, marginalization, hopelessness and depression GLBN students experience, it’s no surprise they report more suicide attempts.”


Reuters - May 13, 1999

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