Research Note on Whether Sexual Minority Individuals Are Over-Represented among Suicide's Casualties

William Feigelman, Martin Plöderl, Zohn Rosen, Julie Cerel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Past studies have repeatedly shown higher suicidal thoughts and attempts among sexual minority members, yet have remained opaque on whether these groups are more prone to taking their own lives. Aims: This short report focuses on suicide deaths among sexual minority members. Method: We utilized two large-scale surveys: one, among adults, the updated Cumulative General Social Surveys, and the other, among adolescents, The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), where respondents' data were cross-linked to National Death Index death records. Results: Results confirmed pre-existent findings showing elevated suicide rates among sexual minority females but not among sexual minority males. Limitations: The shortfall of female adolescent suicides in the Add Health sample prevented us from examining the question of female sexual minority suicides within this population. Conclusion: Although ample evidence demonstrates higher suicidal thoughts and attempts among sexual minority males, three studies presently do not confirm their greater propensity to die by suicide, compared with heterosexual males; yet, for sexual minority females the evidence is steadily mounting showing their greater suicide risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-232
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website (http://www.cpc.unc. edu/addhealth). No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Hogrefe Publishing.


  • gay/lesbian/bisexual suicides
  • sexual minority members
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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