Suicidality and depression disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth: A meta-analytic review

Michael P. Marshal, Laura J. Dietz, Mark S. Friedman, Ron Stall, Helen A. Smith, James McGinley, Brian C. Thoma, Pamela J. Murray, Anthony R. D'Augelli, David A. Brent

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Abstract

Purpose: To examine disparities between sexual minority youth (SMY) and heterosexual youth in rates of suicidality and depression symptoms. Methods: Separate meta-analyses were conducted to examine suicidality and depression disparities. Studies were included if the average age of the participants was <18 years, and if suicidality or depression symptoms were compared across SMY and heterosexual youth. Results: SMY reported significantly higher rates of suicidality (odds ratio [OR] = 2.92) and depression symptoms (standardized mean difference, d =.33) as compared with the heterosexual youth. Disparities increased with the increase in the severity of suicidality (ideation [OR = 1.96], intent/plans [OR = 2.20], suicide attempts [OR = 3.18], suicide attempts requiring medical attention [OR = 4.17]). Effects did not vary across gender, recruitment source, and sexual orientation definition. Conclusions: Disparities in suicidality and depression may be influenced by negative experiences including discrimination and victimization. Clinicians should assess sexual orientation, analyze psychosocial histories to identify associated risk factors, and promote prevention and intervention opportunities for SMY and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Marshal, M. P., Dietz, L. J., Friedman, M. S., Stall, R., Smith, H. A., McGinley, J., Thoma, B. C., Murray, P. J., D'Augelli, A. R., & Brent, D. A. (2011). Suicidality and depression disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49(2), 115-123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.02.005