Suicide risk among gay, lesbian, and bisexual college youth

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Suicide risk among gay, lesbian, and bisexual college youth

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Title: Suicide risk among gay, lesbian, and bisexual college youth
Author: Murphy, Heather Elise
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of suicidal behavior and victimization among gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) college students, expanding the current literature involving GLB high school youth. This was accomplished by examining (1) the incidence of suicidal behavior among GLB college youth compared to their non-GLB peers, (2) the relationship of victimization among GLB college youth compared to non-GLB college youth, (3) the relationship of the victimization of GLB college students to the suicide rates among these students, and (4) the mediating effect of victimization on suicidal behavior among GLB youth. Participants were 528 college undergraduates who completed an anonymous survey involving their sexual identity, suicidal behavior, and victimization. Analyses were conducted across four groups: (1) heterosexual; (2) heterosexual with same-sex attraction and/or behavior (SSA/SSB); (3) gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer (GLBQ); and (4) not sure. Chi-square tests of association and analyses of variance were used to examine group differences in suicidal behavior and victimization. Logistic regression models were used to determine the main effects of sexual identity and victimization and mediation of the independent predictors of suicidal behavior. Results showed that 56 students reported seriously considering attempting suicide, with the SSA/SSB and the Not Sure groups almost three times more likely to consider suicide than the heterosexual group. Forty-two participants responded that they had made a plan to attempt suicide, with the highest rate among the SSA/SSB students (33%). SSA/SSB students were six times more likely to have attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers, and GLBQ students were two times more likely to have attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers. With victimization taken into account, GLBQ college students do not appear to be at greater risk for considering a suicide attempt than their heterosexual peers. What was not expected was the high rates of suicidal behavior among the SSA/SSB students, a new group that research has not previously identified for suicide risk. These results have implications for both GLB services and the assessment of college students who may be questioning their sexual orientation.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 2007.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/7522

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