GIST: LGBTQIA people consider suicide more than their heterosexual counterparts.
This is according to a study – “Sexual Orientation and Age-Related Patterns of Suicidal Ideation Among US Adults” by Caleb C. Cooley, Zhe (Meredith) Zhang, and Justin T. Denney – that appeared in LGBT Health.
Here, the researchers aimed 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.
The researchers 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 study found that – after sociodemographic and socioeconomic controls – sexual minority adult men and women experienced significantly higher odds of suicidal ideation than their same-gender heterosexual counterparts.
After all adjustments, lesbian women had more than three times higher odds and bisexual women had almost four times higher odds than heterosexual women.
Compared with heterosexual men, gay men reported twice higher odds and bisexual men exhibited 3.67 times higher odds of suicidal ideation.
Analysis of the AME also revealed age-specific disparities. 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. Among women, 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.
“The elevated risk of suicidal ideation among sexual minority people throughout different stages of adulthood has important implications for policies and support services,” stressed the researchers.