Predicting suicidality among sexual minority youth: Examining the roles of peer aggression and emotional distress using the Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2017

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Wooley-Snider, Jamie
Pearson, Jennifer D.

Previous studies suggest that minority stress is the consequence of homophobia and discrimination for sexual minority youth. Previous studies reveal that the incidence of suicidality is higher among sexual minority youth than their heterosexual peers, and suggests that experiences of minority stress can predict suicidality. An intersectional framework posits that minority experiences vary by the intersections of sexual identity with race, age, and gender. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asks youth to identify if they have been bullied, electronically bullied, in a physical fight, if they have safety concerns at school, if they have seriously considered suicide, developed a suicide plan, or attempted suicide, as well as asking them to identify their sexual identity and race/ethnicity (Youth Risk Behavior Survey Questionnaire, 2017). Utilizing indicators from the YRBS 2017 national dataset, this quantitative study uses the theoretical frameworks of minority stress and intersectionality, seeking to examine the relationship between minority stress as peer aggression, emotional distress and suicidality for sexual minority youth. This findings of this study suggest that the risk of suicidality for sexual minority youth does not vary significantly by race/ethnicity, but Black Bisexual youth are at significantly lower risk of suicide than their White peers. Overall, a larger percentage of sexual minority youth report peer aggression, emotional distress, and suicidality than do Heterosexual youth. Not only do sexual minority youth report more peer aggression than their Heterosexual peers, but peer aggression is associated with predicting suicidality. Findings point to the importance of further research examining queer safe spaces as a mediating factor and the role of state-level policy to mediate peer aggression in predicting suicide among sexual minority youth.

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Thesis (M.A.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Sociology