Suicide is a public health problem that disproportionately affects bisexual youth more than heterosexual, lesbian/gay, and other sexual minority youth. Teen dating violence (TDV) consists of physically, emotionally, and/or psychologically aggressive behavior in adolescent relationships and has been linked to increased suicidality among sexual minority youth. Although biological sex differences in suicide and TDV have been noted, limited research currently exists regarding the importance of these differences in bisexual youth.
This study employed a cross-sectional descriptive design to investigate the relationship between biological sex, TDV, and suicide risk among bisexual youth in grades 9–12. This study used structural equation modeling to conduct a secondary analysis of pooled 2015 and 2017 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey data that examined whether TDV mediated the relationship between biological sex and suicide risk among bisexual youth.
Results indicated that TDV did not mediate the relationship between biological sex and suicide risk among bisexual youth. Biological sex was a significant predictor of suicide risk with male youth reporting lower suicide risk than female youth, when controlling for dating history, TDV, age, and race. TDV predicted suicide risk, with youth reporting TDV having higher suicide risk, when controlling for dating history, biological sex, age, and race. In addition, black and Hispanic youth reported lower suicide risk compared to white youth.
There is a dire need for research that addresses issues of TDV and suicide among bisexual youth. Understanding factors influencing suicide risk following TDV experiences among bisexual youth will inform interventions to mitigate negative mental health outcomes.