Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Sexual minority students-Vermont-Social conditions, Sexual minority students-Suicidal behavior-Vermont, High school students-Suicidal behavior-Vermont, High school environment-Vermont, School climates, Suicide, LGBTQ, Policy, Suicide planning, Suicide attempt, High school, Vermont


This study was developed to observe the correlation between the implementation of policies to improve school climate for high school students who identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer), and changes in self reported suicide planning and attempts among school populations. Current academic literature notes an increase in the suicidal behaviors among LGBTQ students, and notes social and environmental factors (e.g. school climate) as potential contributing factors to suicide risk. This study compares school policy data from 49 school districts across the state of Vermont to self-reported rates of suicidal planning and attempt collected by the Vermont Department of Health and aggregated at the school level. The study hypothesized that schools with a greater number of school climate policies (e.g. gender neutral bathrooms, LGBTQ organizations, anti-harassment policy and student antiharassment training) will exhibit lower rates of suicidal planning and attempts. The findings pointed to a slight reduction in rates of suicidal ideation and attempt among school employing three of the four interventions, as well as a negative correlation between the number of intervention implemented and the rates of suicidal planning and attempt. However, these findings lack the statistical significance required to rule out a null hypothesis. Further research is needed to exhibit a statistically significant impact, however these findings can be extrapolated to suggest that certain school policies cannot only improve students' feelings of depression and outlook on life, but may prevent death by suicide.




iv, 58 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 48-54)