International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
Exploring the Influence of Community and School Climates on Suicide Attempts among LGB-Q 9th to 12th Grade Students

Abstract


The disproportionately high rates of suicidality among adolescents with minority sexual orientations is a concerning and pressing social problem with important implications for mental health, public health, social policy, and social justice. Social workers hold a unique position from which to address the issue’s complexities. This study uses data from the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 State Equality Index and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance to assess the relationships between community and school climates to suicide attempts among adolescents identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or unsure of their sexual orientation (LGB-Q). Guided by the principles of minority stress and social identity theories, it was hypothesized that LGB-Q students in unsupportive environments would have a greater likelihood of suicidality. In 2017, a total of 107,664 (Nw=9,069,152) 9th to 12th grade students completed the CDC’s survey. Within this study, 13,749 (Nw=1,077,330) students identified as LGB-Q. The results of a binary logistic regression demonstrating the importance of supportive climates predicting significant variance in suicide attempts. With social workers in the unique position of enacting changes to social policy and improving climate, modeling behaviors for adolescents, interacting with them on a daily basis, and being involved in counseling with their familiar unit, it is imperative they have the knowledge and skills necessary to address the needs of those identifiable as LGB-Q.