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Eur J Epidemiol. 2016 Jul;31(7):685-90. doi: 10.1007/s10654-016-0154-6. Epub 2016 May 11.

Suicide in married couples in Sweden: Is the risk greater in same-sex couples?

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, USA. charlotte.bjorkenstam@ki.se.
2
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. charlotte.bjorkenstam@ki.se.
3
Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden. charlotte.bjorkenstam@ki.se.
4
Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
5
Department of Public Health Science, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
6
Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

Minority sexual orientation is a predictor of suicide ideation and attempts, though its association with suicide mortality is less clear. We capitalize on Sweden's extensively linked databases, to investigate whether, among married individuals, same-sex marriage is associated with suicide. Using a population-based register design, we analyzed suicide risk among same-sex married women and men (n = 6456), as compared to different-sex married women and men (n = 1181723) in Sweden. We selected all newly partnered or married individuals in the intervening time between 1/1/1996 and 12/31/2009 and followed them with regard to suicide until 12/31/2011. Multivariate Poisson regression was used to calculate adjusted incidence risk ratios (IRR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI). The risk of suicide was higher among same-sex married individuals as compared to different-sex married individuals (IRR 2.7, 95 % CI 1.5-4.8), after adjustment for time at risk and socioeconomic confounding. Sex-stratified analyses showed a tentatively elevated risk for same-sex married women (IRR 2.5, 95 % CI 0.8-7.7) as compared to different-sex married women. Among same-sex married men the suicide risk was nearly three-fold greater as compared to different-sex married (IRR 2.895 % CI 1.5-5.5). This holds true also after adjustment for HIV status. Even in a country with a comparatively tolerant climate regarding homosexuality such as Sweden, same-sex married individuals evidence a higher risk for suicide than other married individuals.

KEYWORDS:

Gay; Homosexual; LGBT; Lesbian; Marriage; Registered partnership; Sexual minority; Suicide

PMID:
27168192
DOI:
10.1007/s10654-016-0154-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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