European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 31, Issue 7, pp 685–690 | Cite as

Suicide in married couples in Sweden: Is the risk greater in same-sex couples?

  • Charlotte BjörkenstamEmail author
  • Gunnar Andersson
  • Christina Dalman
  • Susan Cochran
  • Kyriaki Kosidou


Minority sexual orientation is a predictor of suicide ideation and attempts, though its association with suicide mortality is less clear. We capitalize on Sweden’s extensively linked databases, to investigate whether, among married individuals, same-sex marriage is associated with suicide. Using a population-based register design, we analyzed suicide risk among same-sex married women and men (n = 6456), as compared to different-sex married women and men (n = 1181723) in Sweden. We selected all newly partnered or married individuals in the intervening time between 1/1/1996 and 12/31/2009 and followed them with regard to suicide until 12/31/2011. Multivariate Poisson regression was used to calculate adjusted incidence risk ratios (IRR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI). The risk of suicide was higher among same-sex married individuals as compared to different-sex married individuals (IRR 2.7, 95 % CI 1.5–4.8), after adjustment for time at risk and socioeconomic confounding. Sex-stratified analyses showed a tentatively elevated risk for same-sex married women (IRR 2.5, 95 % CI 0.8–7.7) as compared to different-sex married women. Among same-sex married men the suicide risk was nearly three-fold greater as compared to different-sex married (IRR 2.895 % CI 1.5–5.5). This holds true also after adjustment for HIV status. Even in a country with a comparatively tolerant climate regarding homosexuality such as Sweden, same-sex married individuals evidence a higher risk for suicide than other married individuals.


Sexual minority LGBT Gay Lesbian Homosexual Suicide Marriage Registered partnership 



This work was supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundations and the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) via the Stockholm University SIMSAM Node for Demographic Research, Grant 340-2013-5164.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Björkenstam
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Gunnar Andersson
    • 3
  • Christina Dalman
    • 4
  • Susan Cochran
    • 1
  • Kyriaki Kosidou
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public HealthUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)Los AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical NeuroscienceKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of SociologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Department of Public Health ScienceKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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