Suicidal as normal: A lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth script?
Canetto, S.S., Antonelli, P., Ciccotti, A., Dettore, D., & Lamis, D.A.
Background: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth are more likely to report suicidal thoughts and/or behavior (STB) than heterosexual youth. The elevated suicidality of LGB youth is not fully accounted for by sexual-minority stress, according to a meta-analysis. A less-tested explanation is that suicidality has become an expected idiom of LGB youth distress. This explanation is consistent with suicide script theory and evidence that suicidal behavior is most likely when it is relatively acceptable. Aims: Building on suicide script theory and evidence, two studies were designed: one of LGB youth attitudes about suicidal behavior, and the other of LGB youth attitudes about suicidal individuals. Method: Surveys of LGB and heterosexual youth (total N = 300; M age = 20; 51% female) were conducted. Results: LGB youth were more accepting of and empathic toward suicidal behavior than heterosexual youth. They also viewed suicidal individuals as more emotionally adjusted. Limitations: Attitudes were not examined by sexual-minority subgroups. Conclusion: LGB youth’s understanding attitudes may translate into less judgmental behavior toward suicidal peers, but also into normalizing suicidality as a way to express distress and cope with life problems. There may be utility in evaluating LGB youth suicide attitudes in suicide prevention initiatives.