Washington: Youngsters, who self-identify asgay or lesbian or who are unsure of their sexual identity, areat higher suicide risk, a new study has claimed. Health experts have long-known that gay, lesbian andbisexual youth face significantly elevated risks of mentalproblems, including suicidal thoughts, but a new study by ateam from McGill University in Canada found that self-identityis the crucial risk-factor rather than actual sexualbehaviours.
"This is the first study that has separated sexualidentity from sexual attractions and behaviours in looking atrisk for poor mental health outcomes," said senior researcherDr Brett Thombs. "It`s important to realise that a large proportion ofpeople who have sex with or are attracted to people of thesame sex do not identify themselves as gay, lesbian orbisexual. They consider themselves heterosexual," addedco-author Dr Richard Montero.
"Those students were not at all at risk of worse mentalhealth outcomes." The main message is that it`s the interface betweenindividuals and society that causes students who identify asgay, lesbian, or bisexual the most distress, said firstauthor Yue Zhao. "Sexual orientation has three different components. Thefirst is identity, which is dependent on the society in whichone lives; the second is attraction or fantasy; and the thirdis behaviour," he said.
Previous studies have not addressed which of thosecomponents may explain why GLB youth are at risk. "What this all means is that clinicians need to look notjust at individuals and their sexuality, they really need toassess the environment they are coming from and how they seethemselves within it," the team said. PTI
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