Main | Monday, April 18, 2011

Gay Kids In Supportive Communities Have Lower Rates Of Suicide Attempts

A new study out of Oregon indicates that gay kids that grow up in a supportive environment are 20% less likely to attempt suicide. We knew this, of course, but now there's some science behind it.
About 1400 -- or between 4 and 5 percent -- of teens surveyed identified themselves as being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Of those students, almost 22 kids out of every hundred said they had attempted suicide in the past year. That compared to about 4 of every hundred teens who identified as straight and said they had attempted suicide. Suicide attempts were more common in LGB teens who reported being depressed and binge drinking, as well as those who had been victimized by their peers or physically abused by an adult. But even accounting for all those factors, teens' social environment made a difference too. Those who lived in counties that scored poorly on measures of social environment were about 20 percent more likely to have attempted suicide than teens from high-scoring social environments.
Factors that positively affect the gay teen suicide rate: "Teens living in counties with a high proportion of gay and lesbian couples, and those who went to schools with gay-straight alliances and anti-discrimination policies." An abstract of the study is here, subscription is required to read the full report.

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