Investigating suicide related behaviours across sexual orientation and neighbourhood deprivation levels: A cohort study using linked health administrative data
Azra, K.K., Nielsen, A., Kim, C., Dusing, G.J., & Chum, A.
Background There have been no studies examining how neighbourhood deprivation modifies the effects of sexual minority status on suicide-related behaviours (SRB). Sexual minority individuals in deprived areas may face unique challenges and stressors that exacerbate their risk of SRB. This study aims to investigate the association between sexual minority status and clinical SRB, and examine whether the effect of neighbourhood deprivation differs across sexual orientation. Methods A population-representative survey sample (169,090 respondents weighted to represent 8,778,120 individuals; overall participation rate 75%) was linked to administrative health data in Ontario, Canada to measure SRB-related events (emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths) from 2007 to 2017. Neighbourhood-level deprivation was measured using the Ontario Marginalisation index measure of material deprivation at the dissemination area level. Discrete-time survival analysis models, stratified by sex, tested the effects of neighbourhood deprivation and sexual minority status, while controlling for individual-level covariates. Results Sexual minority men had 2.79 times higher odds of SRB compared to their heterosexual counterparts (95% CI 1.66 to 4.71), while sexual minority women had 2.14 times higher odds (95% CI 1.54 to 2.98). Additionally, neighbourhood deprivation was associated with higher odds of SRB: men in the most deprived neighbourhoods (Q5) had 2.01 times higher odds (95% CI 1.38 to 2.92) of SRB compared to those in the least deprived (Q1), while women had 1.75 times higher odds (95% CI 1.28 to 2.40). No significant interactions were observed between sexual minority status and neighbourhood deprivation levels. Conclusion In both men and women, sexual minority status and neighbourhood deprivation are independent risk factors for SRB. Despite the lack of effect modification, sexual minorities living in the most deprived neighbourhoods have the highest chances of SRB. Future investigations should evaluate interventions and policies to improve sexual minority mental health and address neighbourhood deprivation.