THE RELATIONSHIP OF CUMULATIVE STRESSORS, CHRONIC ILLNESS AND ABUSE TO THE SELF-REPORTED SUICIDE RISK OF BLACK AND HISPANIC SEXUAL MINORITY YOUTH

Authors


  • We acknowledge the staff of the Alliance for GBLTQ Youth for their energetic work on behalf of this population, as well as The Children's Trust of Miami for their support of that organization. We dedicate this manuscript to the youth that fight every day not only to survive but to also make their schools safer for their peers. This research was partially supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Institutional Grant from the University of Toronto.

Please address correspondence to: Shelley L. Craig, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, 246 Bloor Street W, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A1. E-mail: shelley.craig@utoronto.ca

Abstract

Sexual minority youth [SMY] are a population who experience considerable stress related to their sexual identities. Previous investigations have identified individual risk factors that contribute to suicide among SMY, yet little research has focused on cumulative stressors that may exacerbate negative outcomes for multiethnic sexual minority youth [MSMY]. This study used hierarchical logistic regression to explore the relationship between cumulative risks and their relationship to self-reported suicide risk for MSMY. The community-based clinical sample (n = 137) reported high co-occurrence of risks, with an average of 9. Overall, MSMY with a higher number of cumulative risk factors were twice as likely to express self-reported suicide risk. Specifically, experiencing chronic illness and physical or sexual abuse resulted in threefold higher odds of self-reported suicide risk among MSMY. These findings address a gap in the literature about the relationship of cumulative and specific stressors to the self-reported suicide risk for an understudied, vulnerable population.

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