219260 Sexual orientation and suicide attempts: Results from the California Quality of Life Survey II

Monday, November 8, 2010

Laura J. Nasuti, MPH , Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Susan D. Cochran, PhD, MS , Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Vickie M. Mays, PhD, MSPH , Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Population-based surveys have repeatedly found that people reporting either same-gender sexual partners or sexual minority orientation are at higher risk for suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. However the severity of these attempts has not been studied. Objectives: We examine self-reported suicide thoughts, suicide attempts, and severity of attempts by sexual orientation and gender. Methods: All data come from the Cal-QOL II survey, a population-based sample of 2,815 California residents ages 18-72. All respondents were administered a structured interview assessing sexual behavior and orientation as well as suicide symptom history using an adaption of the WHO-CIDI. General linearized model methods were used to estimate prevalence risk ratios by gender and sexual orientation for suicidal thoughts and attempts while controlling for possible demographic confounding. Results: Overall sexual minorities, as compared to exclusively heterosexual individuals, were at higher lifetime risk of having seriously thought about suicide and making any suicide attempts. Among the groups analyzed, bisexual women and MSM appeared to be at even more risk than other sexual minorities and heterosexuals. Finally no differences were found between groups regarding severity of suicide attempts. Conclusions: Our findings confirm previous findings of increased rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts in sexual minorities. However, they also demonstrate that risk differences exist within this group. In addition, attempts made by sexual minorities appear to be as severe as the attempts reported by their heterosexual counterparts.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe sexual orientation differences in suicidal thoughts and attempts. 2. Describe sexual orientation differences in severity of attempts.

Keywords: Suicide, Gay

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I did all of the analysis and literature review for the current study being presented under the guidance of my academic advisor, Susan Cochran.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.