, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 185-195

Same-Sex Sexual Orientation, Childhood Sexual Abuse, and Suicidal Behavior in University Students in Turkey

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Abstract

This questionnaire study investigated the prevalence of, and interrelationships among, self-reported same-sex sexual orientation, childhood sexual abuse, and suicidal behavior in 1262 university students in Turkey. Approximately 7% of the sample reported lifetime or current same-sex sexual attractions, 5% reported that they engaged in same-sex sexual behavior, and almost 2% self-identified as either homosexual or bisexual. Overall, almost 10% of the sample acknowledged some form of a same-sex sexual orientation. Twenty-eight percent of the participants reported at least one instance of sexual abuse during their childhood. Almost 42% of the students reported suicidal ideation during the past 12 months or lifetime, and 7% reported that they attempted to kill themselves during their lifetime or in the past 12 months. Five hypotheses about the interrelationships among same-sex sexual orientation, childhood sexual abuse, and suicidal behavior were developed and tested in the study. Self-reported childhood sexual abuse was associated with same-sex sexual behavior. Participants who engaged in same-sex sexual behavior and those who identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual perceived more distance between themselves and their fathers than those who did not. Being sexually abused by someone of one’s own sex was related to same-sex sexual orientation in male participants but not in female participants. Childhood sexual abuse was found to be an independent predictor of both suicidal ideation and attempts during the past 12 months. Only identifying oneself as homosexual or bisexual was associated with an increased risk for suicidal ideation during the past 12 months.