Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Youth who self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual at higher suicide risk, say researchers

Date:
February 6, 2010
Source:
Jewish General Hospital
Summary:
Mental health professionals have long-known that gay, lesbian and bisexual teens face significantly elevated risks of mental health problems, including suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts. However, a group of researchers has now come to the conclusion that self-identity is the crucial risk-factor, rather than actual sexual behaviors.

Mental health professionals have long-known that gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) teens face significantly elevated risks of mental health problems, including suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts. However, a group of McGill University researchers in Montreal has now come to the conclusion that self-identity is the crucial risk-factor, rather than actual sexual behaviours.

Their results were published in February in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The researchers administered a detailed, anonymous questionnaire to nearly 1,900 students in 14 Montreal-area high schools, and found that those teens who self-identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, or who were unsure of their sexual identity, were indeed at higher risk for suicidal ideation and attempts. However, teens who had same-sex attractions or sexual experiences -- but thought of themselves as heterosexual -- were at no greater risk than the population at large. Perhaps surprisingly, but consistent with previous studies, the majority of teens with same-sex sexual attraction or experience considered themselves to be heterosexual.

"This is the first study that has separated sexual identity from sexual attractions and behaviours in looking at risk for poor mental health outcomes," said corresponding author Dr. Brett Thombs, of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI) at the Jewish General Hospital.

"It's important to realize that a large proportion of people who have sex with or are attracted to people of the same sex do not identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. They consider themselves heterosexual." added co-author Dr. Richard Montoro of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). "Those students were not at all at risk of worse mental health outcomes."

"The main message is that it's the interface between individuals and society that causes students who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual the most distress," said study first author Yue Zhao, a McGill University graduate student working with Dr. Thombs.. "Sexual orientation has three different components. The first is identity, which is dependent on the society in which one lives; the second is attraction or fantasy; and the third is behaviour. Previous studies have not addressed which of those components may explain why GLB youth are at risk."

"What this all means is that clinicians need to look not just at individuals and their sexuality, they really need to assess the environment they are coming from and how they see themselves within it," said study co-author Dr. Karine Igartua. Igartua and Montoro are co-directors of the McGill University Sexual Identity Centre (MUSIC), the first gay and lesbian mental health centre in Canada.

"Our findings also clearly suggest that further study of the link between anti-gay sentiment and suicidality need to be undertaken," added Thombs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Jewish General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Jewish General Hospital. "Youth who self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual at higher suicide risk, say researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205122240.htm>.
Jewish General Hospital. (2010, February 6). Youth who self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual at higher suicide risk, say researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205122240.htm
Jewish General Hospital. "Youth who self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual at higher suicide risk, say researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205122240.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins