Our aim was to examine the associations of racial/ethnic identity and religious affiliation with suicidal ideation among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) and heterosexual college students. An additional aim was to determine the prevalence of passive suicidal ideation (i.e., death ideation) and active suicidal ideation among culturally diverse LGBQ individuals.
Data from the National Research Consortium probability-based sample of college students from 70 postsecondary institutions (n=24,626) were used to examine active and passive suicidal ideation in the past 12-months and lifetime active suicidal ideation among students by sexual orientation, racial/ethnic identity, and religious affiliation.
Across most racial/ethnic groups and religious affiliations, LGBQ students were more likely to report active suicidal ideation than non-LGBQ individuals. Among LGBQ students, Latino individuals had lower odds of reporting both past 12-month passive and active suicidal ideation than their non-Hispanic white LGBQ counterparts. Compared to Christian LGBQ students, Agnostic/Atheist LGBQ individuals had greater odds of reporting past 12-month passive suicidal ideation, and Jewish LGBQ students were less likely to endorse past 12-month passive and active suicidal ideation.
Cross-sectional design and self-reported data.
Results corroborate previous research showing elevated prevalence of suicidal ideation among LGBQ individuals in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts. These findings are among the first to document prevalence differences within the LGBQ population based on intersectional identities (race/ethnicity and religious affiliation). Providers should recognize that LGBQ individuals might need support in negotiating the complex relationship between multiple identities, especially due to their elevated prevalence of suicidal ideation.