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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2016 Jan;86(1):69-78. doi: 10.1037/ort0000112.

Suicidality and sexual orientation: Characteristics of symptom severity, disclosure, and timing across the life course.

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Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
Department of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.


This investigation explored suicide-related characteristics and help-seeking behavior by sexual orientation. Population-based data are from the California Quality of Life Surveys, which included 1,478 sexual minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and homosexually experienced individuals) and 3,465 heterosexual individuals. Bisexual women had a nearly six-fold increased risk of lifetime suicide attempts than heterosexual women (RR = 5.88, 95%CI: 3.89-8.90), and homosexually experienced men had almost 7 times higher risk of lifetime suicide attempts than heterosexual men (RR = 6.93, 95%CI: 3.65-13.15). Sexual minority men and women were more likely than heterosexual men and women to have disclosed suicide attempts to a medical professional (RR = 1.48 and RR = 1.44, respectively). Among persons who ever attempted suicide, sexual minority women had a younger age of index attempt than heterosexual women (15.9 vs. 19.6 years of age, respectively). Healthcare professionals should be aware of suicidal risk heterogeneity among sexual minority individuals, including vulnerable points of risk and evidenced-based treatments.

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