LGBTQ youth at higher risk of suicide

Oct. 15, 2011 at 1:57 AM
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are at greater risk than others of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, U.S. researchers say.

Joseph Robinson and Dorothy Espelage, both educational psychologists in the College of Education at the University of Illinois, found LGBTQ youth were bullied more by their peers and were at higher risk of truancy than straight youth.

The study was based on anonymous online surveys of more than 13,000 middle- and high-school students in Dane County, Wis. The survey included a set of eight questions with low-probability responses that were used to screen out mischievous responders, the researchers said.

More than 7 percent of straight youth reported thinking about suicide during the prior 30 day period, versus 33 percent of LGBTQ students, the study said.

Bisexual youth were at especially high risk at 44 percent. Bisexual youth were at elevated risk of suicide attempts, with more than 21 percent reporting they had made at least one attempt during the prior year, Robinson and Espelage said.

The study, published in the journal Educational Researcher, found nearly twice as many LGBTQ students as straight students -- 39 percent versus 20 percent -- reported having been bullied, threatened or harassed over the Internet. Bisexual youth reported the highest levels of victimization, 49 percent, among sexual minority youth.

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