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A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Disparities in the Prevalence of Suicide Ideation and Attempt Among Bisexual Populations

  • Travis Salway
  • Lori E. Ross
  • Charles P. Fehr
  • Joseph Burley
  • Shayan Asadi
  • Blake Hawkins
  • Lesley A. Tarasoff
Special Section: Bisexual Health

Abstract

Sexual minorities are at increased risk of suicide; however, it is unclear whether there are within-sexual minority differences in risk across specific sexual identities—notably between bisexual and lesbian/gay subgroups. We therefore conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantify associations between bisexual identity and self-reported suicide ideation and attempt and the moderation of these associations by gender/sex, age, sampling strategy, and measurement of sexuality. Abstracts and full texts were independently screened by two reviewers, resulting in a total of 46 studies that met inclusion criteria and reported 12-month or lifetime prevalence estimates for suicide ideation or attempt. A consistent gradient was observed across all four outcomes, whereby bisexual respondents reported the highest proportion of suicide ideation or attempt, lesbian/gay respondents the next highest proportion, and heterosexual respondents the lowest proportion. Random-effects meta-analysis comparing bisexual individuals with lesbian/gay individuals yielded odds ratios (ORs) ranging between 1.22–1.52 across the four outcomes examined. Between-study variability in ORs was large. Thirty-one percent of heterogeneity was explained by sample type (e.g., probability vs. non-probability) and 17% by gender/sex. ORs were consistently larger for women (range: 1.48–1.95, all statistically significant at p < .05) than for men (range: 1.00–1.48, all p > .05), suggesting that gender/sex moderates the association between bisexual identity and suicide risk. Within-sexual minority differences in suicide risk may be attributed to structural and interpersonal experiences of monosexism, bisexual erasure and invisibility, or lack of bisexual-affirming social support, each of which may be experienced differently across gender/sex identities.

Keywords

Suicide Bisexual Sexual orientation Mental health Meta-analysis 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This study used secondary data; as such, ethical approval was not required.

Supplementary material

10508_2018_1150_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2010 kb)

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Clinical Prevention ServicesBC Centre for Disease ControlVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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