Suicide Ideation and Suicide Attempts Among White Southern Lesbians

Jay A. Irwin, Erika L. Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Several studies find suicide behaviors to be more prevalent among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations than their heterosexual counterparts. Studies of non-LGB populations reveal 13% prevalence of lifetime ideation and 4% prevalence of lifetime attempts. This study analyzed data from the Lesbian Social Life (LSL) study, a primarily online, survey-based research project focusing on lesbians living in the southern United States, and found that more than 40% of participants had seriously considered suicide and more than 15% had attempted suicide. We estimated the likelihood of suicide ideation and attempts by utilizing known general risk factors and lesbian-specific indicators within hierarchical logistic regression. Predictors of suicide ideation and attempts included depressive symptoms, discrimination, social support, self-esteem, and stigma. Results highlight the magnitude of suicide behaviors in southern lesbians and important predictor variables. Analysis shows support for the minority stress theory, and policy and clinical recommendations are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-20
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • mental health
  • mental illness-suicide
  • sexual identity-lesbian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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