Teens who self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual at increased suicide risk

February 6th, 2010 - 12:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 6 (ANI): A new study has shown that teenagers who self-identify as gays, lesbians and bisexuals are at a greater risk of having suicidal thoughts.

Moreover, those who were unsure of their sexual identity were also at higher risk for suicidal ideation and attempts.

“This is the first study that has separated sexual identity from sexual attractions and behaviours in looking at risk for poor mental health outcomes,” said corresponding author Dr. Brett Thombs, of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI) at the Jewish General Hospital.

“The main message is that it’s the interface between individuals and society that causes students who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual the most distress,” said study first author Yue Zhao, a McGill University graduate student working with Dr. Thombs.

“Sexual orientation has three different components. The first is identity, which is dependent on the society in which one lives; the second is attraction or fantasy; and the third is behaviour.

“What this all means is that clinicians need to look not just at individuals and their sexuality, they really need to assess the environment they are coming from and how they see themselves within it,” said study co-author Dr. Karine Igartua. Igartua and Montoro are co-directors of the McGill University Sexual Identity Centre (MUSIC), the first gay and lesbian mental health centre in Canada.

“Our findings also clearly suggest that further study of the link between anti-gay sentiment and suicidality need to be undertaken,” added Thombs.

The study results were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (ANI)

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