Does it get better? LGB depression and suicidality from adolescence to adulthood


Odom, Robert; Rostosky, Sharon S.; & Danner, Fred (2012). Does it get better? LGB depression and suicidality from adolescence to adulthood. 2012 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


In response to tragic suicides of gay youth, author Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, began the “It Gets Better” social media project in September 2010, demonstrating the power of social media to capture the attention of youth and adults alike ( Videos told youth to “hang in there” through the tough period of high school because “it gets better.” Although studies have documented that same-sex attracted youth, as a group, are at higher risk for depression (e.g., Fergusson, Horwood, Ridder, & Beautrais, 2005) and suicidality (e.g., Russell & Joyner, 2001) than heterosexual peers, the literature also lends support to the “It Gets Better” hypothesis. An Add health study found that suicidal ideation is mostly confined to the adolescent years for gay men (Russell & Toomey, 2010). Few longitudinal studies, however, have examined depressive symptoms over time. The present study examines whether depressive symptoms and suicidality decrease over time for those meeting criteria for clinical depression in adolescence. Participants were a diverse sample of 15,701 individuals who were interviewed at Wave I and IV. A CESD measure included in Wave I was used to include only participants who met criteria for depression in adolescence. Principle results focus on a decrease in depressive symptoms and suicidality among all orientations. Sex and orientation differences are presented. Discussion focuses on between group differences and implications.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2012 Add Health Users Conference


Odom, Robert
Rostosky, Sharon S.
Danner, Fred

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID