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Supportive environments curb gay teen suicide rate




Most gay teens come out in high school, but sex researchers and counselors say middle-school students are coming out increasingly earlier.
Most gay teens come out in high school, but sex researchers and counselors say middle-school students are coming out increasingly earlier.
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A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics says that supportive environments can play a role in reducing the suicide rate by gay teens, but the suicide-attempt rate for gay teenagers is still much higher than for straight kids - 20.5% compared with 4.2%. The study's author, Mark Hatzenbuehler is a researcher at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Social Inequality and Health. He discusses the study with John.

The study was conducted using survey data from 32,000 public school students in Oregon, completed as part of the Oregon Healthy Teens survey. All the students were 11th graders. They were asked whether they identified as heterosexual (straight), gay/lesbian, or bisexual.

Researchers then created a composite index to measure supportive versus non-supportive environments for gay teens. The five factors were number of same-sex couples in each county, the number of registered Democrats, whether schools had gay-straight alliances, and whether schools in the county had anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies.