What Leads Gay, Straight Teens to Attempt Suicide?

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A study of nearly 32,000 high school students suggests that suicide attempts by gay teens -- and even straight teens -- are more common in politically conservative areas where schools don't have programs to support them.

Columbia University psychologist Mark Hatzenbuehler says a lack of supporting programs raises the chances of teen suicide, and it didn't much matter if the teens were also dealing with issues such as depression and being bullied.

Hatzenbuehler says his study even found that suicide rates were higher among gay teens in areas where there were fewer Democrats, because he says it's a less liberal environment.

Hatzenbuehler's study focuses only on the state of Oregon and it relies on teens' self-reporting suicide attempts within the previous year. Roughly 20 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual teens said they had tried to kill themselves, versus 4 percent of straight kids.

The research is online in Monday's journal Pediatrics.

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