Social Environment Linked to Gay Teen Suicide Risk (2011)

Reuters released an article detailing a study done by Mark Hatzenbuehler from Columbia University that “found lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth are less likely to attempt suicide when surrounded by a supportive social environment.” The original source research article was published in Pediatrics and is titled “Social Environment Linked to Gay Teen Suicide Risk.”  The research study was based on data from three years’ worth of health surveys that were completed by high school students in Oregon.

They found several interesting results:

  • LGB youth were more likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual youth (21.5% vs. 4.2%)
  • Among LGB youth, the risk of committing suicide was 20% greater in unsupportive environments compared to supportive environments.
  • A supportive environment was associated with a fewer suicide attempts.

This research study revealed that a negative environment can increase risk for suicide attempts among LGB youth and policy change should focus on improving social environment to address sexual-orientation related disparities in suicide attempts.


Pittman, G. “Social Environment Linked to Gay Teen Suicide Risk.” Reuters. 18 April, 2011. Web. 8 Dec, 2013.

Hatzenbuehler, M. “The Social Environment and Suicide Attempts in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth.” (2011). Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542.

Link to Reuters Article

Link to Source Article by Hatzenbuehler

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