Publication Date

2019-07-01

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2021-06-30

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Nursing (Nursing)

Date of Defense

2019-04-30

First Committee Member

Anne Norris

Second Committee Member

Joseph De Santis

Third Committee Member

Karina Gattamorta

Fourth Committee Member

Dennis Reidy

Abstract

Suicide is a significant health problem for sexual minority youth (SMY) in general, and for bisexual youth, who currently have the highest risk for suicide compared to lesbian/gay and heterosexual adolescents in the U.S. Bisexual youth experience “bisexual-specific” stigma and discrimination due to their sexual orientation, and both stigma and discrimination have been linked to increased suicidality and negative mental health outcomes among bisexual individuals. This cross-sectional, descriptive study is guided by the Intersectional Minority Stress theoretical model and uses a secondary analysis of pooled 2015 and 2017 national YRBSS data to examine three specific aims. All analyses are conducted using a subsample SMY, including bisexual youth, enrolled in grades 9-12 to address three specific aims. Aim one compares and contrasts the rates of suicide risk, bullying, and TDV among the three sexual minority subgroups. Aim two evaluates the role of intersecting identities (i.e. biological sex, and race/ethnicity) and bullying on suicide risk among bisexual youth, and aim three analyzes the role of intersecting identities and TDV on suicide risk among bisexual youth. Path analysis and multiple-group Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to address study aims and research questions. Bisexual youth in 2015 and 2017 reported more suicide risk and victimization as compared to their lesbian/gay and unsure counterparts. The hypotheses for aim two, which examined bullying as a mediator and race/ethnicity as a moderator, were rejected due to non-significance or because no significant differences were observed between racial/ethnic subgroups. In aim three, TDV mediated the relationship between biological sex and suicide risk, as expected. However, contrary to predictions, race/ethnicity did not moderate this mediation. Both Healthy People 2020 and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) consider reducing suicide deaths and suicide attempts among U.S. adolescents a national priority. It is imperative to use education and training, policy, and research to: (1) address risk factors for suicidality; (2) educate health practitioners; and (3) support the development of interventions targeting SMY and bisexual youth specifically.

Keywords

suicide; bullying; dating violence; bisexual; adolescents

Available for download on Wednesday, June 30, 2021

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