Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Public Health. 2014 Feb;104(2):279-86. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301508. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Protective school climates and reduced risk for suicide ideation in sexual minority youths.

Author information

Mark L. Hatzenbuehler is with the Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY. Michelle Birkett is with the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Aimee Van Wagenen is with the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health, Fenway Institute, Boston, MA. Ilan H. Meyer is with the Williams Institute, School of Law, University of California, Los Angeles.



We examined whether sexual minority students living in states and cities with more protective school climates were at lower risk of suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts.


Data on sexual orientation and past-year suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts were from the pooled 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Surveys from 8 states and cities. We derived data on school climates that protected sexual minority students (e.g., percentage of schools with safe spaces and Gay-Straight Alliances) from the 2010 School Health Profile Survey, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Lesbian, gay, and bisexual students living in states and cities with more protective school climates reported fewer past-year suicidal thoughts than those living in states and cities with less protective climates (lesbians and gays: odds ratio [OR] = 0.68; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.47, 0.99; bisexuals: OR = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.66, 0.99). Results were robust to adjustment for potential state-level confounders. Sexual orientation disparities in suicidal thoughts were nearly eliminated in states and cities with the most protective school climates.


School climates that protect sexual minority students may reduce their risk of suicidal thoughts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center