Suicidality and sexual orientation among men in Switzerland: Findings from 3 probability surveys.

Published: May 14, 2012


Few population-based surveys in Europe have examined the link between suicidality and sexual orientation. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalences of and risk for suicidality by sexual orientation, especially among adolescent and young adult men. Data came from three probability-based surveys in Switzerland from 2002: 1) Geneva Gay Men’s Health Survey (GGMHS) with 571 gay/bisexual men, 2) Swiss Multicenter Adolescent Survey on Health (SMASH) with 7,428 16-20 year olds, and 3) Swiss Recruit Survey (ch-x) with 22,415 new recruits. In GGMHS, suicidal ideation (12 months/lifetime) was reported by 22%/55%, suicide plans 12%/38%, and suicide attempts 4%/19%. While lifetime prevalences and ratios are similar across age groups, men under 25 years reported the highest 12-month prevalences for suicidal ideation (35.4%) and suicide attempts (11.5%) and the lowest attempt ratios (1:1.5 for attempt to plan and 1:3.1 for attempt to ideation). The lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts among homo/bisexual men aged 16-20 years varies from 5.1% in ch-x to 14.1% in SMASH to 22.0% in GGMHS. Compared to their heterosexual counterparts, significantly more homo/bisexual men reported 12-month suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts (OR = 2.09-2.26) and lifetime suicidal ideation (OR = 2.15) and suicide attempts (OR = 4.68-5.36). Prevalences and ratios vary among gay men by age and among young men by both sexual orientation and study population. Lifetime prevalences and ratios of non-fatal suicidal behaviors appear constant across age groups as is the increased risk of suicidality among young homo/bisexual men.

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