Associations Between LGBTQ+-Supportive School and Community Resources and Suicide Attempts Among Adolescents in Massachusetts

Marla E Eisenberg, Brittany A. Wood, Darin J Erickson, Amy L. Gower, Shari Kessel Schneider, Heather L. Corliss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Supportive school and community resources are associated with reduced risk of suicidality among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) adolescents as well as their cisgender, heterosexual peers. This study examined whether adolescents attending schools and living in communities with more versus fewer LGBTQ+-supportive resources were at lower risk of a past-year suicide attempt. Data on sexual orientation and past-year suicide attempt were obtained from student surveys administered in 30 Massachusetts public high schools between 2014 and 2017 (N = 20,790). Data on school resources were obtained from a questionnaire administered to school officials, and community resources were assessed through internet searching. Modified Poisson generalized estimating equations tested associations between school and community LGBTQ+-supports and suicide attempt separately by sex/gender, adjusting for student, school, and community covariates. Several school resources and the availability of community-wide LGBTQ+-supportive resources were associated with lower risk of a suicide attempt among several subgroups of students, even after controlling for the presence of multiple school and community resources and covariates. For example, the risk of a suicide attempt among gay, bisexual and questioning boys in schools with a gender-neutral restroom was approximately half compared to gay, bisexual and questioning boys in schools without this resource. Past year suicide attempts were also significantly lower among questioning, RR = 0.56, CI [0.37–0.86], and heterosexual, RR = 0.59, CI [0.50–0.68], girls living in communities with more supportive resources compared to those in communities with fewer resources. LGBTQ+-supportive resources in schools and communities may be beneficial for all adolescents regardless of sexual orientation

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-811
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume91
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HD078470. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice

Keywords

  • community resources
  • LGBQ adolescents
  • protective factors
  • school resources
  • suicide attempts
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts/epidemiology
  • Students
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • Suicide, Attempted
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Schools

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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