Where Risks and Protective Factors Operate Differently: Homeless Sexual Minority Youth and Suicide Attempts
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- Walls, N.E., Potter, C. & Van Leeuwen, J. Child Adolesc Soc Work J (2009) 26: 235. doi:10.1007/s10560-009-0172-2
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Using a sample of 628 homeless youth and young adults from eight US cities, this study examines whether the relationship between having been in custody of social services and suicide attempts, and the relationship between engaging in survival sex and suicide attempts differ based on sexual orientation. Findings suggest that being in custody of social services is associated with a significant increase in likelihood of suicide attempts for heterosexual youth, it does not, however, significantly change the already increased risk of suicide attempts for sexual minority youth. Engaging in survival sex appears to be associated with increased risks of suicide attempts for both heterosexual and sexual minority youth, but the increase in likelihood is much stronger for heterosexual youth than for sexual minority youth. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.