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Sexual-Minority Teens Have Elevated Suicide Ideation, Attempt, Plan

Last Updated: September 27, 2021.

MONDAY, Sept. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Sexual-minority adolescents have higher lifetime risks for suicide ideation, plan, and attempt than their heterosexual peers, according to a study published online Sept. 27 in Pediatrics.

Jeremy W. Luk, Ph.D., from the National institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues conducted a population-based longitudinal cohort study involving 1,771 adolescents. Sexual-minority status was reported in 2010 to 2011; age at onset of suicidality was retrospectively reported in 2015 to 2016.

The researchers found that compared with heterosexual adolescents, sexual-minority adolescents (5.8 percent of weighted sample) had higher lifetime risks for suicide ideation (26.1 versus 13.0 percent), plan (16.6 versus 5.4 percent), and attempt (12.0 versus 5.4 percent). After adjustment for demographic characteristics and depressive symptoms, survival analyses revealed positive associations of sexual-minority status with time to first onset of suicide ideation and plan (hazard ratios [HRs], 1.77 [95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.03 to 3.06] and 2.69 [95 percent CI, 1.30 to 5.56], respectively). The association between minority status and age at onset of suicide attempt was stronger at age younger than 15 years versus 15 years or older (HRs, 3.26 [95 percent CI, 1.25 to 8.47] and 0.59 [95 percent CI, 0.21 to 1.66], respectively). The association between sexual-minority status and progression from ideation to plan was stronger in the same year of first ideation (HR, 2.01; 95 percent CI, 1.07 to 3.77) compared with at least one year after first ideation (HR, 1.33; 95 percent CI, 0.26 to 6.77).

"Our study highlights the importance of early identification of sexual minority adolescents who experience elevated suicidality," the authors write.

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