Do Democrats Prevent Gay Teen Suicides?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootbearwdc/169139657/">dbking</a>/Flickr

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Gay, lesbian, and bisexual (LGB) teens who live in communities with greater proportions of Democrats may be less likely to commit suicide. That’s according to a new study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

The study looked at a survey of about 32,000 11th graders in 34 Oregon counties, about 4 percent of whom were LGB. It found that LGB youth living in supportive social environments were 25 percent less likely to try killing themselves. In order to measure social support, the study looked at a community’s political party affiliation, as well as the prevalence of schools’ anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies and Gay-Straight Alliance groups.

Suicides among gay youth have received a lot of attention in recent months, particularly after a spate of deaths last fall. (The most dramatic, perhaps, was the Rutgers University freshman who leapt off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate streamed a video online of him in an encounter with another man.)

Researcher Mark Hatzenbuehler, who conducted the study, said in a press release that the results would provide a “road map” to reducing suicides. But he expressed concern about the lack of progress in some communities. In Utah, for instance, Mormons have strongly opposed Gay-Straight Alliances.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among all 15- to 24-year-olds and even higher among LGB youth (PDF).

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate