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Suicide attempts in young LGBTQ+ in Switzerland – contexts and help-seeking: A grounded theory study

At a glance



Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans youth (LGBT youth) are more frequently affected by suicidal behaviour than the heterosexual and cisgender population. In Switzerland, however, there are no studies that could instruct suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ adolescents within the framework of the national suicide prevention action plan. International studies show the determinants and risk factors for suicide attempts and suicides among LGBTQ+ persons. What is missing are research approaches that understand suicidal behaviour as a process, that examine the subjective meaning of suicidal behaviour and patterns of interpretation from the perspective of different actors - from LGBTQ+ young people and their environment - with a multi-perspective, qualitative-interpretive approach.

Thus, the aim of our study is to better understand, how (process) and why (subjective meaning, patterns of interpretation) it comes to (an) attempted suicide(s) among LGBTQ+ adolescents. In the context of these main research questions, we will investigate the burdens and resources associated with gender identity and sexual orientation, the help-seeking behaviour and the retrospectively perceived need for help and support of young people and their close social environment.


Using grounded theory and applying a multi-perspective approach we will interview LGBTQ+ youths/young adults in German- and French-speaking Switzerland who have committed at least one, but no more than three suicide attempts between the ages of 14 and 25. If agreed by interviewees, persons from their close social environment (such as parents, colleagues, school social workers) will be interviewed as well. The selection of interview participants is based on the principle of 'theoretical sampling'. Analysis of data is carried out according to grounded theory methodology (theoretical coding, case characterizations).

Expected contribution to science and practice

The study findings should contribute to a better understanding of the processual dynamics and background of suicide attempts among LGBT adolescents at both international and national level and should represent a scientific innovation in the field of suicidology with regard to multi-perspective methodology. Since suicide attempts are the best predictors of suicide, and in view of existing multiaddressee approaches to suicide prevention, the study results should make a significant contribution to suicide prevention and its evidence-based further development for LGBT adolescents (LGBT-sensitive orientation of universal and indicated suicide prevention; LGBT-specific orientation of selective suicide prevention).

Further information