Legalising same-sex marriage may reduce suicide in teens

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 23 (ANI): The implementation of state laws for legalising same-sex marriage can significantly reduce the rate of suicide attempts among teenagers, reveals a study. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health found that state-level, same-sex marriage policies were associated with more than 1,34,000 fewer adolescent suicide attempts per year. The study, appeared in JAMA Pediatrics, compared states that passed laws allowing same-sex marriage to states that did not enact state-level legalisation. The findings show the effect that social policies can have a great impact on their behaviour. "These are high school students. So, they aren't getting married any time soon, for the most part," says study leader Julia Raifman. "Still, permitting same-sex marriage reduces structural stigma associated with sexual orientation. There may be something about having equal rights - even if they have no immediate plans to take advantage of them - that makes students feel less stigmatized and more hopeful for the future," Raifman added. The team analysed 32 of the 35 states that enacted same-sex marriage policies between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2015. The researchers used data from 1999 to 2015 to capture trends in suicide attempts five years before the first same-sex marriage policy went into effect in Massachusetts. They were also able to compare data with states that did not enact same-sex marriage laws. The findings indicated that state same-sex marriage legalisation policies were associated with a seven percent reduction in suicide attempts among high school students generally. The association was concentrated in sexual minorities, with a 14 percent reduction in suicide attempts among gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents. The effects persisted for at least two years. The states that did not implement same-sex marriage saw no reduction in suicide attempts among high school students. (ANI)