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Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour in adolescents and young adults: systematic review and meta-analysis

  • A. Miranda-Mendizábal (a1), P. Castellví (a2), O. Parés-Badell (a3), J. Almenara (a4), I. Alonso (a5), M. J. Blasco (a6), A. Cebrià (a7), A. Gabilondo (a8), M. Gili (a9), C. Lagares (a10), J. A. Piqueras (a11), M. Roca (a12), J. Rodríguez-Marín (a11), T. Rodríguez-Jiménez (a11), V. Soto-Sanz (a11), G. Vilagut (a13) and J. Alonso (a14)...

Research suggests that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents have a higher risk of suicidal behaviours than their heterosexual peers, but little is known about specific risk factors.


To assess sexual orientation as a risk factor for suicidal behaviours, and to identify other risk factors among LGB adolescents and young adults.


A systematic search was made of six databases up to June 2015, including a grey literature search. Population-based longitudinal studies considering non-clinical populations aged 12–26 years and assessing being LGB as a risk factor for suicidal behaviour compared with being heterosexual, or evaluating risk factors for suicidal behaviour within LGB populations, were included. Random effect models were used in meta-analysis.


Sexual orientation was significantly associated with suicide attempts in adolescents and youths (OR=2.26, 95% CI 1.60–3.20). Gay or bisexual men were more likely to report suicide attempts compared with heterosexual men (OR=2.21, 95% CI 1.21–4.04). Based on two studies, a non-significant positive association was found between depression and suicide attempts in LGB groups.


Sexual orientation is associated with a higher risk of suicide attempt in young people. Further research is needed to assess completed suicide, and specific risk factors affecting the LGB population.

Corresponding author
Dr Jordi Alonso, IMIM-Institut Hospital del Mar d'lnvestigacions Mèdiques, PRBB Building, Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain. Email:
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These authors contributed equally to the work.

See editorial, pp. 63–64, this issue.

Declaration of interest


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Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour in adolescents and young adults: systematic review and meta-analysis

  • A. Miranda-Mendizábal (a1), P. Castellví (a2), O. Parés-Badell (a3), J. Almenara (a4), I. Alonso (a5), M. J. Blasco (a6), A. Cebrià (a7), A. Gabilondo (a8), M. Gili (a9), C. Lagares (a10), J. A. Piqueras (a11), M. Roca (a12), J. Rodríguez-Marín (a11), T. Rodríguez-Jiménez (a11), V. Soto-Sanz (a11), G. Vilagut (a13) and J. Alonso (a14)...
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