The roles of school in supporting LGBTQ+ youth: A systematic review and ecological framework for understanding risk for suicide-related thoughts and behaviors

Marisa E. Marraccini, Katherine M. Ingram, Shereen C. Naser, Sally L. Grapin, Emily N. Toole, J. Conor O'Neill, Andrew J. Chin, Robert R. Martinez, Dana Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The extant literature on suicide-related thoughts and behaviors (STB) has highlighted increased patterns of risk among specific minoritized populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, two spirit, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth. Compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, LGBTQ+ youth are at increased risk for having STB. Identity-specific stressors such as homonegativity and anti-queerness are among the unique factors posited to contribute to this risk and inhibit factors that protect against suicide. The school setting has been a focal point for suicide prevention and intervention and may also play a key role in linking students to care; however, schools also hold the potential to provide supports and experiences that may buffer against risk factors for STB in LGBTQ+ students. This systematic literature review presents findings from 44 studies examining school-related correlates of STB in LGBTQ+ students, informing an ecological approach to suicide prevention for school settings. Findings underscore the importance of school context for preventing STB in LGBTQ+ youth. Approaches that prioritize safety and acceptance of LGBTQ+ youth should span multiple layers of a student's ecology, including district and state level policies and school programs and interventions, such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances and universal bullying prevention programs. Beyond their role as a primary access point for behavioral health services, schools offer a unique opportunity to support suicide prevention by combating minority stressors through promoting positive social relationships and a safe community for LGBTQ+ students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-49
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of School Psychology
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


  • Gender diverse
  • LGBTQ+
  • Schools
  • Sexual gender minoritized
  • Sexual orientation
  • Suicide

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