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21 Jul 2016

Study in South Korea reveals depression and suicidal thoughts of LGBT teens

Depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts are all more likely in gay and lesbian teenagers compared to their heterosexual peers

A study by the Samsung Medical Center, which analyzed survey data on 129,000 Korean teenagers from 2008 to 2012, has just been released.

The findings reveal that South Korean teenagers are more likely to develop "health-risk behaviors," including depression and addiction.

The report details that out of the 129,000 Korean teenagers questioned, 2,306 of them had engaged in same-sex sexual or romantic encounters.

The study showed that 60 per cent of homosexual teens had had suicidal thoughts and some 26.4 per cent said that they had attempted to take their own lives, compared to just 7.8 percent of straight teens.

It also found that 75.7 percent of surveyed  gay and lesbian teenagers said they drank alcohol compared to 51.2 percent of heterosexual teenagers. 14.4 percent of LGBT teenagers had consumed drugs compared to 1.3 per cent of heterosexual teens.

“Homosexual adolescents report disparities in various aspects of health-risk behavior, including the use of multiple substances, suicide attempts and depressive mood,” the report reads.

“These factors should be addressed relevantly to develop specific interventions regarding sexual minorities.”

The report has been met with mixed reactions from the LGBT community. Some believe it is important to highlight the plight of LGBT in conservative South Korea, while others believe it stigmatises LGBT youth.

“You can still be gay even if you have no sexual or romantic encounters with same-sex individuals and those children have not been included as homosexual in this study,” said Sapo, an LGBT activist at the Lesbian Counselling Center in Seoul.

“I’m worried that people may start thinking all LGBT teenagers have such health-risk problems and behaviours. That’s not always the case.”

Reader's Comments

1. 2016-07-22 21:21  
It took four years to release the data?

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