Suicide risk among gender and sexual minority college students: The roles of victimization, discrimination, connectedness, and identity affirmation

Danielle R. Busby, Adam G. Horwitz, Kai Zheng, Daniel Eisenberg, Gary W. Harper, Ronald C. Albucher, Laura Weiss Roberts, William Coryell, Jacqueline Pistorello, Cheryl A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Little is known about how victimization and discrimination relate to suicide risk among sexual and gender minority (SGM) college students, or what is protective for these students. The current study will: 1.) determine the extent to which interpersonal victimization, discrimination, identity affirmation, and social connectedness are associated with suicide risk characteristics, and if race and/or ethnicity moderates this association; 2.) examine whether identity affirmation and social connectedness are protective against associations between victimization or discrimination and suicide risk characteristics. Method: Participants were 868 students (63.6% female) from four United States universities who completed an online screening survey and met the following study inclusion criteria: self-identification as gender and/or sexual minority, endorsement of at least one suicide risk characteristic and no current use of mental health services. Participants also completed measures that assessed demographics, non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), victimization, discrimination, connectedness, and LGBTQ identity affirmation. Results: Victimization was positively associated with depression severity, suicidal ideation, alcohol misuse, suicide attempt history, and NSSI. Discrimination was positively associated with depression severity, suicide attempt history, and NSSI. Connectedness was inversely associated with depression severity, suicidal ideation severity, suicide attempt history, and NSSI, and moderated the association between victimization and suicide attempt history. LGBTQ identity affirmation moderated the link between victimization and depression. Conclusions: Results suggest efforts to decrease victimization and discrimination and increase connectedness may decrease depressive morbidity and risks for self-harm among SGM college students. Further, increasing LGBTQ identity affirmation may buffer the impact of victimization on depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume121
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • College students
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual and gender minority
  • Suicide risk
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Suicide risk among gender and sexual minority college students: The roles of victimization, discrimination, connectedness, and identity affirmation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this