Teen Suicide Attempts In US Decline Due To Same-Sex Marriage Legalization, New Study Finds

21 February 2017, 8:20 am EST By Samantha Dean Tech Times
A study has revealed that legalization of same-sex marriage has lead to decline in teenage suicide attempts in U.S. Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst U.S. teens.  ( Elvert Barnes | Flickr )

Gays, lesbians and homosexuals, fail to gather social acceptance if they dare to publicly announce their sexual orientation. They are harassed and bullied mentally and physically, which sends a negative impact to the whole homosexual community, which includes adolescents as well.

The U.S. was experiencing a rise in the number teen suicides and the alarming numbers even forced Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to sit up and take notice. However, after the Supreme Court legalized "same sex marriage", there has been considerable decline in teenage suicidal attempts.

A new study states that there has been a considerable decline in the rate of suicide attempts in the U.S. especially among high school students, after the court made gay marriages legal.

Julia Raifman, the lead author of the study and also a researcher at John Hopkins's Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that suicidal tendencies are more evident in gay, lesbian and bisexual kids given the amount of social stigma and bullying they face. The judgement may have made the gay kids feel "more hopeful for the future" along with homosexual adults.

How Was the Study Conducted?

The researchers behind this new study collected and analyzed data taken from more than 762,678 public high school students across 47 states from 1999 to 2015. The average age of the participants was 16 years.

The surveys were conducted by the government on risky youth behaviour. Incidentally, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015 as well.

The survey states that approximately 230,000 students listed their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian or bisexual and answered questions on suicide attempts, smoking, alcohol and drug use.

What Did The Study Reveal?

Per the data, around 29 percent of the high school students who were either gay or lesbian were attempted suicide compared to the mere 6 percent of straight teens.

The study also stated that around 8.6 percent of all high school students and around 28.5 percent of the all 231,413 students who stated their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian or bisexual, had tried committing suicide before the implementation of same-sex policies.

It was also observed that the 32 states which had legalized same-sex marriages saw a drop of 7 percent in suicidal attempt rates among all high school students and 14 percent decline among gay, lesbian or bisexual high school students. However, there was little or no change at all in the suicide attempts in states which did not implement the same-sex policy.

What The Study Reflected

Raifman emphasized that the change in the federal policies helped these teenagers cope with the social stigma and bullying they face at the hands of other kids and also the society.

"It's important for policymakers to be aware that social policies that affect lesbian, gay and bisexual rights may impact child health," says Raifman

It was noted by the researchers, that the study did not prove that the change in policies directly led to the decline in the number of suicide attempt amongst teens.

The study was published in JAMA Paediatrics journal on Feb. 20.  

Photo: Elvert Barnes | Flickr 

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