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Logo of nihpaAbout Author manuscriptsSubmit a manuscriptHHS Public Access; Author Manuscript; Accepted for publication in peer reviewed journal;
 
J Am Coll Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 January 1.
Published in final edited form as:
J Am Coll Health. 2012; 60(2): 141–149.
doi:  10.1080/07448481.2011.623332
PMCID: PMC3340564
NIHMSID: NIHMS362074

Drivers of Disparity: Differences in Socially-Based Risk Factors of Self-injurious and Suicidal Behaviors Among Sexual Minority College Students

John Blosnich, PhD, MPH
Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (i.e., sexual minority) populations have increased prevalence of both self-injurious and suicidal behaviors, but reasons for these disparities are poorly understood.

Objective

To test the association between socially-based stressors (e.g., victimization, discrimination) and self-injurious behavior, suicide ideation, and suicide attempt.

Participants

A national sample of college-attending 18- to 24-year-olds.

Methods

Random or census samples from post-secondary educational institutions that administered the National College Health Assessment during the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 semesters.

Results

Sexual minorities reported more socially-based stressors than heterosexuals. Bisexuals exhibited greatest prevalence of self-injurious and suicidal behaviors. In adjusted models, intimate partner violence was most consistently associated with self-injurious behaviros.

Conclusions

Sexual minorities' elevated risks of self-injurious and suicidal behaviors may stem from higher exposure to socially-based stressors. Within-group differences among sexual minorities offer insight to specific risk factors that may contribute to elevated self-injurious and suicidal behaviors in sexual minority populations.

Keywords: Community Health, Health Education, Mental Health