Does It Really Get Better? Suicide Attempts in Two Cohorts of Sexual Minority Adolescents following Massachusetts Marriage Equality

Shoshana K. Goldberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kerith Conron, The Fenway Institute
Carolyn Tucker Halpern, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In the present study, we used difference-in-difference logistic regression, and multiple-group structural equation modeling (SEM)to explore the impact of developmental timing (e.g. age) of exposure to same-sex marriage (SSM) legalization (in 2004 in Massachusetts) on the association between sexual orientation and suicidality, as well as on the mediated association that occurred through school bullying, among 14,431 respondents in the 2005-2013 waves of the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). We hypothesized that SSM marriage legislation would contribute to a more socially tolerant, LGB-friendly environment, such that respondents for whom SSM legalization occurred prior to adolescence (at age 12; 'pre-adolescence') would experience less school-based bullying, and, subsequently, report less disparities in suicide attempts relative to respondents for whom SSM legalization occurred during their adolescence. However, preliminary results found the opposite, such that the overall association between sexual orientation and suicide attempt increased in the pre-adolescence cohort,and did not appear to act through school-based bullying.Implications of findings are discussed.

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 Presented in Session P7. Health and Mortality of Women, Children and Families