Suicide Related Ideation and Behavior Among Canadian Gay and Bisexual Men: A Syndemic Analysis

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (PhD)
Final version published as: 

Ferlatte O, Dulai J, Hottes TS, Trussler T, Marchand R. Suicide related ideation and behavior among Canadian gay and bisexual men: a syndemic analysis. BMC Public Health. 2015 Jul 2;15:597. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-1961-5.

Date created: 
2015
Keywords: 
Gay men
Bisexual men
Suicide
Syndemic
Homophobia
Violence
Canada
Abstract: 

Background

While several studies have demonstrated that gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of suicide less attention has been given to the processes that generate the inherent inequity with the mainstream population. This study tested whether syndemic theory can explain the excess suicide burden in a sample of Canadian gay and bisexual men. Syndemic theory accounts for co-occurring and mutually reinforcing epidemics suffered by vulnerable groups due to the effects of social marginalization.

Methods

This study used data from Sex Now 2011, a cross-sectional survey of Canadian gay and bisexual men (n  = 8382). The analysis measured the extent to which anti-gay marginalization and several psychosocial health problems are associated with suicide related ideation and attempts. Since psychosocial health problems were hypothesized to have an additive effect on suicide related ideation and attempts, the analysis calculated the effect of accumulated psychosocial health problems on suicide behavior.

Results

Suicide ideation and attempts were positively associated with each individual marginalization indicator (verbal violence, physical violence, bullying, sexual violence and work discrimination) and psychosocial health problems (smoking, party drugs, depression, anxiety, STIs, HIV risk and HIV). Furthermore, prevalence of suicide ideation and attempts increased with each added psychosocial health problem. Those who reported 3 or more had 6.90 (5.47–8.70) times the odds of experiencing suicide ideation and 16.29 (9.82–27.02) times the odds of a suicide attempt compared to those with no psychosocial health problems.

Conclusions

This investigation suggests that syndemics is a useful theory for studying suicide behavior among gay and bisexual men. Moreover, the findings highlight a need to address gay and bisexual men’s health problems holistically and the urgent need to reduce this population’s experience with marginalization and violence.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
File(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
Vancouver Foundation
Statistics: