Bisexual female university students in the US are more likely to deal with depression and suicide than their straight peers, according to a recent study by a Weber State University assistant professor.
The study by Laura Santurri found lesbians are four times more likely than straight girls to attempt suicide.
‘Our results were in line with other studies that found lesbian women have increased odds of poor mental health outcomes when compared to heterosexual women,’ Santurri said. ‘When we compared bisexual women to heterosexual women, the disparity was even greater.’
Bisexual women were found to be five times more likely than their straight counterparts to attempt suicide.
‘We have the numbers, but numbers don’t tell us why,’ Santurri said. ‘We can speculate there may be additional stress for bisexual women for having an orientation that is not as well understood.’
‘I can categorize you as straight or gay, but there’s less understanding for someone attracted to both genders,’ she added.
The analysis was based on a health survey given to around 150,000 university women across the country for three semesters in 2008 and 2009.
Santurri believes it is important to do more research on suicide among the LGBTI community because of lack of information on the topic. However, she agrees more investigation has to be done.
The study didn’t ask students about the reasons for their mental health issues, such as feelings of overwhelming anxiety, anger, hopelessness, loneliness, sadness and depression.
These study took place when the US was debating Proposition 8, California’s then-ban on same-sex marriage. The law was deemed unconstitutional in June 2013 and since then a total of 16 US states have legalized same-sex marriage.
Santurri believes these changes will help improve mental health among the LGBTI community.
‘We have to continue to do research to monitor those outcomes,’ she said.
She hopes to do future research on the issue by interviewing LGBTI students at Weber State University. The investigation will include a series of questions and pictures reflecting students’ feelings about the answers.
The data will then be sent to the institution and Santurri hopes the findings will potentially make changes at Weber State University.