Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Suicide Acceptability and Sexual Orientation: Results from the General Social Survey 2008-2014.

Blosnich JR, Lytle MC, Coulter RWS, Whitfield DL. Suicide Acceptability and Sexual Orientation: Results from the General Social Survey 2008-2014. Archives of suicide research : official journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research. 2018 Jan 24; 22(4):542-554.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals have higher prevalence of lifetime suicide ideation and attempt than their heterosexual peers, but less is known about differences in suicide acceptability (i.e., believing suicide is a viable answer to a problem). The purpose of this study was to examine if LGB adults had greater suicide acceptability than heterosexual adults. A total of 4 items in the General Social Surveys from 2008 to 2014 assessed whether a nationally representative sample of U.S. adult respondents (n? = 5,037) thought it acceptable for individuals to kill themselves if one: goes bankrupt, dishonors their family, is tired of living, or has an incurable disease. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association of sexual orientation with suicide acceptability items after adjusting for confounding factors. Compared with heterosexuals, lesbians/gays had higher odds of reporting suicide acceptability if one goes bankrupt (OR? = 1.92; 95% CI: 1.06, 3.46), dishonors family (OR? = 1.83; 95% CI: 1.01, 3.28), or is tired of living (OR? = 2.25; 95% CI: 1.30, 3.90). Bisexual and heterosexual groups were largely similar across the 4 suicide acceptability items. No sexual orientation differences were observed for reporting acceptability of suicide in the instance of an incurable disease. Post hoc analyses revealed significant interactions between sex and sexual orientation, such that differences in suicide acceptability seemed to be driven by sexual minority women rather than by sexual minority men. Suicide acceptability differs by sexual orientation, and community-level interventions around changing norms about suicide may be a prevention strategy for sexual minority individuals.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.