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Sexual minorities experienced significantly higher odds of suicidal ideation – study

Lesbian women had more than three times higher odds of suicidal ideation. Bisexual women had almost four times higher odds. And bisexual men exhibited 3.67 times higher odds.

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Sexual minority adult men and women experienced significantly higher odds of suicidal ideation.

This is according to a study – “Sexual Orientation and Age-Related Patterns of Suicidal Ideation Among U.S. Adults” by Caleb C. Cooley, Zhe (Meredith) Zhang, and Justin T. Denney – that appeared in LGBT Health.

In this study, the researchers eyed to explore whether and how suicidal ideation differs according to specific sexual orientations (i.e. heterosexual, gay/lesbian, bisexual orientation) and age groups in gender-stratified analyses. They identified state health departments from nine US states that collected Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data on both sexual orientation and suicidal ideation from 2011 to 2018 for adults aged 18 and older (n = 113,337). Logistic regression and average marginal effects (AME) were used to examine the likelihood of suicidal ideation by sexual orientation, gender, and age.

The researchers found that:

  • sexual minority adult men and women experienced significantly higher odds of suicidal ideation than their same-gender heterosexual counterparts
  • lesbian women had more than three times higher odds than heterosexual women
  • bisexual women had almost four times higher odds than heterosexual women
  • compared with heterosexual men, gay men reported twice higher odds of suicidal ideation
  • bisexual men exhibited 3.67 times higher odds of suicidal ideation
  • the likelihood of suicidal ideation for bisexual men aged 18–24 years was significantly higher than that for gay and heterosexual men of the same age
  • bisexual women closer to middle age (35–44 years) experienced a higher likelihood of suicidal ideation than heterosexual or lesbian women of the same age

For the researchers, “the elevated risk of suicidal ideation among sexual minority people throughout different stages of adulthood has important implications for policies and support services.”

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