The proportion of high school students who reported being gay or lesbian, bisexual or not sure of their sexual identity nearly doubled between 2009 and 2017, and suicide rates among this population remained elevated when compared to heterosexual students, according to a study in the March 2020 Pediatrics. The study, “Sexual Orientation and Suicide Attempt Disparities among US Adolescents: 2009-2017,” (published online Feb. 10) found that the proportion of U.S. adolescents identifying as sexual minorities increased to 14.3% in 2017, up from 7.3% in 2009. Researchers, analyzing data from the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Data from six states, found increases in same-sex sexual contact increased by 70% during the same time period. While suicide attempts declined among students identifying as sexual minorities, these students remained more than three times more likely to attempt suicide when compared with heterosexual students in 2017. Students with same-sex sexual contacts were more than twice as likely to report suicide attempts, relative to those with only opposite-sex sexual contacts. The authors conclude that more research is needed, particularly on policies, training practices and interventions to promote sexual minority health in education and health care institutions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.