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J Affect Disord. 2005 Jul;87(1):35-42.

Gender role, sexual orientation and suicide risk.

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The Ohio State University, USA.



There has been interest in the relationship between homosexuality, gender role and suicide risk. Though homosexuals are more likely to identify as cross-gender, research has not simultaneously examined sexual orientation and gender role in assessing suicide risk. In the current study, the unique and interactive effects of sexual orientation and gender role were assessed in regard to suicidal ideation, related psychopathology and measures of coping.


77 participants were recruited from an undergraduate psychology subject pool (n=47) or from gay, lesbian and transgender student organizations (n=30) and assessed on measures of gender role, homosexuality, and psychopathology.


Consistent with expectations, cross-gender role (i.e., personality traits associated with the opposite sex) is a unique predictor of suicidal symptoms. Moreover, gender role accounted for more of the overall variance in suicidal symptoms, positive problem orientation, peer acceptance and support, than sexual orientation. After accounting for gender role, sexual orientation contributed little to the variance in suicidal symptoms, associated pathology and problem-solving deficits. There was no support for gender role by sexual orientation interaction effects.


The cross-sectional nature of the data limits statements regarding causality.


Cross-gendered individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, appear to have higher risk for suicidal symptoms. Researchers and clinicians should assess gender role in evaluations of youth samples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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