Suicidal Rates Increases Among Gay College Students

by Hannah Punitha on Sep 26 2007 8:01 PM

According to Murphy, there are two possible explanations for high suicidal-behavior rate - one that these people are still in the process of determining their sexual identity and prior to the period of disclosing their preference they might engage in suicidal thinking.

) Being victimized for being gay was the risk factor that increased suicidal- behavior risk, she added.

The study conducted by researcher Heather Murphy at the University of Washington found that the students who identified themselves as heterosexual reported being attracted to people of the same sex or engaging in same-sex behavior.

“A lot of people stop thinking about sexual orientation related victimization and suicide as a problem beyond the K-12 school years. But suicide doesn’t stop after high school.” Murphy said.

In the study, Murphy recruited 528 participants – 404 heterosexuals, 79 same-sex attracted heterosexuals, 38 gays, lesbians and bisexuals, and 7 who said they were not sure of their sexual identity. The students were ranged in age from 17 to 26, with a mean age of 19, and 63 percent of them were female.

Through the questionnaires it was discovered that gay, lesbian and bisexuals and the same-sex attracted heterosexuals experienced more verbal and physical victimization than heterosexual students.

Homophobic statements, hearing others talk about gays, lesbian and bisexuals in derogatory terms, and being harassed for their sexual orientation, included verbal victimization. Whereas, physical victimization included being physically threatened or assaulted and getting into fights.