Longitudinal associations between peer factors and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among sexual minority women

Kate Dorrell*, Johnny Berona, Alison E. Hipwell, Kate Keenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Sexual minority young women endorse higher rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than heterosexual women, but the reasons for these disparities remain unclear. One hypothesis is that the two groups of women share peer-related risk factors, but the magnitude of effect is stronger for sexual minority women. Method: We utilized 6 years of data drawn from a community sample of women (N = 2078; 26% sexual minority) to examine rates of suicidality in early adulthood, adolescent peer influences on later suicidal ideation and behavior, and whether sexual minority status moderated the impact of peer influences on suicidality. Results: Across the study period, rates of suicidality were higher among sexual minority women compared to heterosexual women. In prospective analyses, peer victimization increased risk for future suicidality whereas peer connectedness attenuated risk for the entire sample. Additionally, sexual minority status moderated the magnitude of these relationships for suicidal ideation and behavior. Specifically, the effect of peer connectedness on suicidal ideation was stronger for heterosexual women than sexual minority women, whereas the effect of peer connectedness on suicidal attempts was stronger for sexual minority than for heterosexual women. In addition, peer victimization increased risk for suicide attempts among sexual minority women. Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of peer experiences in late adolescence for suicidality during the transition to young adulthood, and how such relations vary by sexual minority status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume141
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Longitudinal
  • Peer connectedness
  • Peer victimization
  • Sexual minority youth
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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