Send to

Choose Destination
Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1995;25 Suppl:64-71.

Sexual orientation in adolescents who commit suicide.

Author information

Division of Child Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, NY 10032, USA.

Erratum in

  • Suicide Life Threat Behav 1996 Summer;26(2):218.


It has been suggested that there is a strong relationship between suicidal behavior and homosexuality in adolescence. It has been further suggested that it is due to the stigmatization and feelings of isolation that are experienced by many gay adolescents. Much of the literature that has given support to these hypotheses has been conducted on uncontrolled nonrepresentative samples and its generalizability is open to question. An opportunity to examine the relationship in an unselected sample arose in a case control, psychological autopsy study of 120 of 170 consecutive suicides under age 20 and 147 community age, sex, and ethnic matched controls living in the Greater New York City area. Homosexuality was defined as having had homosexual experiences or having declared a homosexual orientation. Three teenagers and no controls met these criteria. The difference was not significant. The circumstances of death were examined and are described. In no instance did suicide directly follow an episode of stigmatization. All three suicides had evidence of significant psychiatric disorder before death. In spite of opportunities for biased reporting, it is concluded that this study finds no evidence that suicide is a common characteristic of gay youth, or that when suicide does occur among gay teenagers, that it is a direct consequence of stigmatization or lack of support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center