New analysis has confirmed that LGBT youth are far more likely to attempt suicide than other adolescents their age.
A report in JAMA Pediatrics collated data from 35 other studies. The studies included responses from 2.4 million heterosexual adolescents and 113,468 non-straight students aged between 12 and 20 from 10 countries.
The data showed young LGBTI people were three times more likely to try and take their own lives than straight youths. Trans youth were six times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.
Researchers told Thomson Reuters Foundation that LGBT youth struggle to come to terms with sexual and/or gender identity because of social stigma.
‘Adolescents facing “non-conventional” sexual identity are at risk of higher self-threatening behaviors, independent of bullying and other risk factors,’ said the study’s lead author, Dr. Ester di Giacomo from the University of Milano-Bicocca.
‘I think that a difficulty in self-acceptance and social stigmatization might be keys for understanding such elevation in the risk of self-threatening behaviors.’
Suicide was the second leading cause of death for all adolescents with the risks increased for LGBTI people.
This analysis helps get the ‘best estimates of the disparity of suicide risk due to sexual orientation’, according to Brian Mustanski.
He is the director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Health and Well Being at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Mutanski and his team researched LGBT youth for more than 10 years and welcomed the latest analysis.
‘We already knew (LGBT) teens were at risk, but this study gives a more precise estimate of that risk,’ he said.
But Mutanski stressed the importance of remembering not all LGBT youth are suicidal.
‘We read about this community being at risk, but there are plenty of LGBT teens who are happy and thriving and doing great,’ he said.
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