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Victimization for sexual orientation increases suicidal behavior in college students
Date:9/24/2007

The film and television series M*A*S*H* featured the song Suicide is Painless, but new research refutes that idea and indicates that being victimized because of sexual orientation is a chief risk factor for suicidal behavior among gay, lesbian and bisexual college students.

The study is the first to explore the link between victimization and suicidal behavior among college students. In the course of the study, University of Washington researcher Heather Murphy also uncovered a group of students who previously had not been studied and are at increased risk for suicidal behavior. These students identified themselves as heterosexual, but also reported being attracted to people of the same sex or engaging in same-sex behavior.

This group was three times as likely as heterosexuals to have made a plan to commit suicide in the past year and six times more likely to have actually attempted suicide in the same period. Gay, lesbian and bisexual students also were at increased risk for suicidal behavior. They were twice as likely as heterosexuals to have planned and to have attempted suicide in the previous year.

Murphy did the research for her doctoral dissertation in educational psychology, which she recently completed. The research was based on questionnaires containing 86 questions answered anonymously by more than 500 undergraduate UW students. Fifty-six of those students said they had seriously considered suicide in the previous 12 months. A dozen of them attempted suicide. Two students required medical treatment and recovered. Half of the suicide attempts and both of the cases requiring medical attention involved same-sex attracted heterosexuals.

A lot of people stop thinking about sexual orientation related victimization and suicide as a problem beyond the K-12 school years, she said. But suicide doesnt stop after high school. I thought I wouldnt find very much victimization in Seattle, and I certainly wasnt expecting thes
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Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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