Predicting the Suicide Attempts of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth

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Abstract

In this study predictors of serious suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth were examined. Three groups were compared: youth who reported no attempts, youth who reported attempts unrelated to their sexual orientation, and youth whose attempts were considered related to their sexual orientation. About one third of respondents reported at least one suicide attempt; however, only half of the attempts were judged serious based on potential lethality. About half of all attempts were related to youths' sexual orientation. Factors that differentiated youth reporting suicide attempts and those not reporting attempts were greater childhood parental psychological abuse and more childhood gender-atypical behavior. Gay-related suicide attempts were associated with identifiability as LGB, especially by parents. Early openness about sexual orientation, being considered gender atypical in childhood by parents, and parental efforts to discourage gender atypical behavior were associated with gay-related suicide attempts, especially for males. Assessment of past parental psychological abuse, parental reactions to childhood gender atypical behavior, youths' openness about sexual orientation with family members, and lifetime gay-related verbal abuse can assist in the prediction of suicide attempts in this population.

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