Studies of human sexuality have noted high rates of suicidality among homosexual youth, but the problem has not been systematically examined. This work was undertaken to identify risk factors for suicide attempts among bisexual and homosexual male youth. Subjects were 137 gay and bisexual males, 14 through 21 years of age, from the upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Forty-one subjects (41/137) reported a suicide attempt; and almost half of them described multiple attempts. Twenty-one percent of all attempts resulted in medical or psychiatric admissions. Compared with nonattempters, attempters had more feminine gender roles and adopted a bisexual or homosexual identity at younger ages. Attempters were more likely than peers to report sexual abuse, drug abuse, and arrests for misconduct. The findings parallel previous studies' results and also introduce novel suicide risk factors related to gender nonconformity and sexual milestones.
- Received May 14, 1990.
- Accepted July 30, 1990.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics