Suicidal ideation and attempts in north american school-based surveys: Are bisexual youth at increasing risk?

Elizabeth M. Saewyc, Carol L. Skay, Patricia Hynds, Sandra L Pettingell, Linda H Bearinger, Michael D Resnick, Elizabeth Reis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


This study explored the prevalence, disparity, and cohort trends in suicidality among bisexual teens vs. heterosexual and gay/lesbian peers in 9 population-based high school surveys in Canada and the U.S. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to calculate age-adjusted odds ratios separately by gender; 95% confidence intervals tested cohort trends where surveys were repeated over multiple years. Results showed remarkable consistency: bisexual youth reported higher odds of recent suicidal ideation and attempts vs. heterosexual peers, with increasing odds in most surveys over the past decade. Results compared to gay and lesbian peers were mixed, with varying gender differences in prevalence and disparity trends in the different regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-36
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of LGBT Health Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 14 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
These analyses were supported by: Grant # R01 MH-6258601 from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health (Saewyc, original PI; Skay, second PI), a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Career Scholar Award (Saewyc, PI), and by a grant from the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies/Williams Institute/the Ford Foundation. Preliminary results for a portion of the analyses were presented at the 2004 annual meeting of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, St. Louis, MO. The authors would like to thank Pamela Hillard, Seattle School District, for access to the Seattle Adolescent Health Surveys, Dr. Robert Blum, University of Minnesota, for access to the 1986 Minnesota Adolescent Health Survey, to the Minnesota Department of Education for access to the Minnesota Student Surveys, and to the McCreary Centre Society for access to the BC Adolescent Health Surveys. The authors would also like to thank Yuko Homma, doctoral student, for some of the statistical analyses. The Institutional Review Board of the University of Minnesota reviewed this project, as did the Behavioural Research Ethics Board of the University of British Columbia.


  • Bisexual gay lesbian adolescents
  • Health disparities
  • Population surveys
  • School-based surveys
  • Sexual orientation
  • Suicide attempts


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