263268 School-based protective factors related to suicide for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Kelly Whitaker, MPA , Research Department & School of Social Welfare, Education, Training & Research Associates (ETR) & University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco, CA
John P. Shields, PhD, MSW , Research Department, Education, Training & Research Associates (ETR), San Francisco, CA
Jill R. Glassman, PhD, MSW , Research, ETR Associates, Scotts Valley, CA
Heather Franks, MA , Research Department, Education, Training & Research Associates (ETR), Scotts Valley, CA
Kevin Gogin, MFT , Student Support Services Department, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA
Heliana Ramirez, MSW , School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley
Background: The last two decades of research on lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents has revealed they are three times more likely to consider suicide than their heterosexual peers.1 While much of this literature has established the problem of higher rates of suicide as well as the risk factors for suicide, much less of this research has examined the protective factors. Purpose: With a focus on prevention, we aim to understand whether school-based protective factors (e.g., school anti-bullying policies, school-based health services, school connectedness) are associated with decreased suicidal ideation for this group of adolescents. Significance: There is a need to identify protective factors to prevent suicidal behaviors in this vulnerable population. This study adds to the emerging research identifying school-based protective factors related to suicide for LGB adolescents. Methodology: In a secondary analysis of the San Francisco Unified School District's 2011 California Healthy Kids Survey, we used logistic regression analysis to control for multiple independent variables, including risk and protective factors for LGB adolescents (n=263). Results: Results indicated that school connectedness was significantly related to reduced suicidal ideation, for LGB adolescents (p= .02; 95% C.I.= .52, .97). Conclusions: Our analysis revealed that LGB adolescents' sense of connection to school may serve a protective role for suicidal ideation. Schools' efforts to increase LGB students' sense of school connectedness may reduce suicidal ideation.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify risk and protective factors related to suicide for LGB adolescents. 2. Describe the role of school environment interventions on suicidal ideation among LGB adolescents. 3. Discuss how schools can increase LGB adolescentís sense of connection to the school community.

Keywords: Child/Adolescent Mental Health, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For the past five years I served as San Francisco Wellness Initiative Evaluation Manager: a school-based effort to support mental health and well-being in San Francisco public schools. I coordinated the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and California Healthy Kids Survey projects in the San Francisco Unified School District. I am also currently enrolled in the Social Welfare doctoral program at UC Berkeley. I present nationally and published in peer reviewed journals on LBGT youth issues.
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.