© 2016

Queer Youth, Suicide and Self-Harm

Troubled Subjects, Troubling Norms


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Elizabeth McDermott, Katrina Roen
    Pages 1-19
  3. Elizabeth McDermott, Katrina Roen
    Pages 20-41
  4. Elizabeth McDermott, Katrina Roen
    Pages 42-61
  5. Elizabeth McDermott, Katrina Roen
    Pages 62-79
  6. Elizabeth McDermott, Katrina Roen
    Pages 80-102
  7. Elizabeth McDermott, Katrina Roen
    Pages 103-126
  8. Elizabeth McDermott, Katrina Roen
    Pages 127-145
  9. Elizabeth McDermott, Katrina Roen
    Pages 146-166
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 167-186

About this book


Offering a new way of understanding the high self-harm and suicide rates among sexual and gender minority youth, this book prioritises the perspectives and experiences of queer young people, including those who have experience of self-harming and/or feeling suicidal. Presenting analysis based on research carried out with young people both online and face-to-face, the authors offer a critical perspective on the role of norms, namely developmental norms, gender and sexuality norms, and neoliberal norms, in the production of self-harming and suicidal youth.

Queer Youth, Suicide and Self-Harm is unique in the way it works at the intersection of class and sexuality, and in its specific focus on transgender youth and the concept of embodied distress. It also examines the implications of this research for self-harm reduction and suicide prevention.


Youth queer self-harm suicide qualitative LGBT lesbian gay bisexual transgender genderqueer mental health wellbeing emotion distress online methodologies gender methodology online stress youth

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Lancaster UniversityUK
  2. 2.University of OsloNorway

About the authors

Elizabeth McDermott is Senior Lecturer in Health Research at Lancaster University, UK. Her research is focused on mental health inequalities, particularly those concerning sexuality, gender, social class and youth. She is currently the lead investigator for the Queer Futures research project, a national UK study investigating LGBTQ youth, suicide, self-harm and help-seeking.

Katrina Roen Professor in Cultural and Community Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway. Her research relates to LGBTIQ youth and emotional wellbeing, and draws from queer and poststructuralist feminist understandings. She is currently engaged in research concerning puberty suppression among gender non-conforming youth, and the health care of intersex people.

Bibliographic information


This is an important publication as it is the first book to engage in depth with suicidality and self-harm in a diverse range of queer youth. The authors draw on a range of social science perspectives in order to better understand why, despite some evidence of increasing societal acceptance of sexual diversity, LGBTQ youth are still at greater risk of self-harm than their heterosexual peers'

-Jonathan Scourfield, Cardiff University, UK

'Elizabeth McDermott and Katrina Roen extend the boundaries of current thinking about suicide and self-harm for queer identified youth who are commonly positioned as inherently "risky" subjects. They offer insights into the embodied, structural and discursive conditions that generate emotional distress and hence they open up critical questions about how self-harming practices could be prevented. Drawing upon contemporary social theory, this book contributes to a deeper understanding of how young LGBT young people negotiate their emerging subjectivities in relation to normative ideas about sexuality, success and emotional life. Written in an engaging style and drawing upon rich empirical material, McDermott and Roen develop a compelling interdisciplinary approach that brings together insights from critical psychology, feminism, sociology and queer theory. The book also had immense applied value for professionals and policy makers who desire more critically reflexive, sensitive and hopeful ways of responding to the complex emotional lives (and deaths) of queer youth.'

-Simone Fullagar, University of Bath, UK