Trends in violence victimization and suicide risk by sexual identity among high school students: Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2015-2019
Johns, M.M., Lowry, R., Haderxhanaj, L.T., Rasberry, C.N., Robin, L., Scales, L., ... Suarez, N.A.
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youths continue to experience more violence victimization and suicide risk than heterosexual youths; however, few studies have examined whether the proportion of LGB youths affected by these outcomes has varied over time, and no studies have assessed such trends in a nationally representative sample. This report analyzes national trends in violence victimization and suicide risk among high school students by self-reported sexual identity (LGB or heterosexual) and evaluates differences in these trends among LGB students by sex (male or female) and race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic white, or Hispanic). Data for this analysis were derived from the 2015, 2017, and 2019 cycles of CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a cross-sectional, school-based survey conducted biennially since 1991. Logistic regression models assessed linear trends in prevalence of violence victimization and indicators of suicide risk among LGB and heterosexual students during 2015–2019; in subsequent models, sex-stratified (controlling for race/ethnicity and grade) and race/ethnicity-stratified (controlling for sex and grade) linear trends were examined for students self-identifying as LGB during 2015–2019. Results demonstrated that LGB students experienced more violence victimization and reported more suicide risk behaviors than heterosexual youths. Among LGB youths, differences in the proportion reporting violence victimization and suicide risk by sex and race/ethnicity were found. Across analyses, very few linear trends in these outcomes were observed among LGB students. Results highlight the continued need for comprehensive intervention strategies within schools and communities with the express goal of reducing violence victimization and preventing suicide risk behaviors among LGB students.