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October 1999

Homosexuality, Psychopathology, and Suicidality

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56(10):887-888. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.56.10.887

IN THIS issue of the ARCHIVES, Herrell et al1 report a study in which they assessed suicidal ideation, history of ever attempting suicide, and psychopathology in male twins who had sex with other men after age 18 years and in their heterosexual co-twins. This study is the first in which psychopathology and suicidality are compared between twins of divergent sexual orientation recruited from a population-based twin registry. Herrell and coauthors conclude that homosexual men have an increased lifetime risk of suicidal behaviors and that this is unlikely to be owing to psychiatric comorbidity. The first part of this conclusion seems more strongly supported by the study than the second. In particular, the inference about the lack of relationship between depression and suicidality must be taken with caution. Statistical operations correlating depression and suicidality were carried out using a variable representing the number of symptom groups reported for the worst period of a subject's depression.