Health: Gay teen suicide risk lower in supportive areas

Published on Xinhuanet, Editor: Zhang Xiang, April 19, 2011.

… The study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that LBG youth living in a social environment more supportive of gays and lesbians were 20 percent less likely to attempt suicide than LGB youth living in environments that were less supportive.

What’s more, the rate of suicide attempts among straight teens in conservative communities was also higher — by 9% — than in areas that were more politically and socially liberal. 

The researchers wrote in their conclusion: “The social environment appears to confer risk for suicide attempts over and above individual-level risk factors. These results have important implications for the development of policies and interventions to reduce sexual orientation–related disparities in suicide attempts. ”

“The results of this study are pretty compelling,” said study author Mark Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

He noted: “When communities support their gay young people, and schools adopt anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies that specifically protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, the risk of attempted suicide by all young people drops, especially for LGB youth.” (full text).

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