HealthDay News — More teenagers are identifying as sexual minorities, and sexual minority youth have high prevalence of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts, according to two studies published online Feb. 10 in Pediatrics.
Julia Raifman, Sc.D., from the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues examined temporal trends in sexual orientation and suicide attempts using data from the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey. The researchers found that from 2009 to 2017, there was an increase in the proportion of adolescents reporting minority sexual orientation, from 7.3 to 14.3 percent, while the proportion of adolescents reporting any same-sex sexual contact increased from 7.7 to 13.1 percent. Among students identifying as sexual minorities, there was a decrease in suicide attempts, although they remained more than three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual students in 2017.
Richard T. Liu, Ph.D., from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues used data from the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 1995 to 2017 to examine trends in prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The researchers found that over the entire study period, the prevalence rates declined for suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among sexual minority youth. From 1995 to 2007, the prevalence rates decreased for suicidal ideation and plans among heterosexual youth; attempts declined over the entire period. Across the study period, the prevalence of all three outcomes remained markedly high among sexual minority youth.
“Despite more youth identifying as sexual minority youth over time, disparities in suicidality do not appear to be narrowing,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.