A new study has shown that gay and bisexual young people are four times more likely than their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide.

Using data from US Youth Risk Behavior Surveys from 2005 and 2007, the researchers found that they were 3.8 times more likely to attempt to take their own lives, and 3.2 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or to self-harm.

It also discovered that lesbian and bisexual girls are more likely to report planning suicide, having suicidal thoughts and self-harming than their male peers, but approximately half as likely to have been treated by a medical professional as a result of a suicide attempt.

The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, also took race into account.

It found that compared to white youths, black and Asian LGBT youths are significantly less likely to have thoughts of suicide, plan a suicide or self-harm.

However, American Native/Pacific Islander and Latino LGBT youths are significantly more likely to have attempted suicide in the past year.

The study did not investigate transgender, genderqueer or intersex youths.

A UK study earlier this year found that two thirds of gay teens have contemplated suicide.