Roughly one-third of sexual minority adolescents (SMA) report at least one lifetime suicide attempt. Supportive connections are protective for ideation, yet little is known about this association with SMA—especially longitudinally.
Five-step logistic regressions examined the associations of bullying, SMA, and ideation, and also how connectedness mediates this from age 9 and 15 (Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study; N = 3,023 adolescents).
At age 9, SMA reported higher levels of daily bullying compared with heterosexual peers (26% versus 14%), and at age 15, SMA reported daily (7%) and weekly (20%) bullying. SMA (32%) reported ideation compared with their heterosexual peers (13%) at age 15. Parental and school connectedness protected adolescents regardless of sexual orientation for SI, but parental attachment buffered the effect of SMA ideation more than school connectedness.
Impressing upon schools to be mindful of bullying on their campuses, especially of SMA, is crucial for suicide prevention as we found heterosexual students connected to their school were protected from ideation, yet this was not found for SMA. Strong parent–child bonds can mediate the effects of bullying while at school, speaking to the importance of having at least one trusted adult in an adolescent’s life.