Outlook Ohio News: Teen Rate of Suicide Declines as Same-Sex Marriage Became Legal
New research indicates that implementation of same-sex marriage policies reduced adolescent suicide attempts. As countries around the world consider enabling or restricting same-sex marriage. The authors’ assert that implementing same-sex marriage policies were associated with improved population health and state that policymakers should consider the mental health consequences of same-sex marriage policies.
The researchers focused this study on students for the following 3 reasons: they were able to include data from all participating states in all years without restricting the analysis to states that collected information on sexual orientation, the full population includes sexual minorities (gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure) who may not identify as sexual minorities in the YRBSS, and same-sex marriage policies may affect the composition of the self-identified sexual minority population. The research conducted a subgroup analysis of sexual minorities to assess whether changes in suicide attempts were concentrated in this population but emphasize that these estimates are vulnerable to bias.
Findings This difference-in-differences analysis of representative data from 47 states found that same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7% reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year. The effect was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities.
Meaning Same-sex marriage policies are associated with reduced adolescent suicide attempts.
Importance Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24 years. Adolescents who are sexual minorities experience elevated rates of suicide attempts.
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