Suicide among soldiers and social contagion effects: An interrupted time-series analysis

Background Suicide has become an increasingly concerning problem among soldiers in recent years. Previous research has hypothesized that media-related social contagion effects, termed “Werther effects,” may contribute to military suicide numbers. Unfortunately, there is limited empirical knowledge on such social contagion effects in soldiers. We contribute to the literature by investigating this phenomenon in the context of a specific […]

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among adolescent psychiatric inpatients

Background: Given low base rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs) in national samples of adolescents, clarifying the sociodemographic and clinical correlates among psychiatric inpatients may afford insights into potential risk factors that predict STBs onset. Method: Adolescents (N = 970; ages 12-19 years) admitted for acute, psychiatric inpatient care completed baseline clinical interviews and self-report measures assessing […]

Applying the Anderson-Darling test to suicide clusters: Evidence of contagion at U. S. universities?

Background: Suicide clusters at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) prompted popular and expert speculation of suicide contagion. However, some clustering is to be expected in any random process. Aim: This work tested whether suicide clusters at these two universities differed significantly from those expected under a homogeneous Poisson process, in which suicides occur […]

An adolescent suicide cluster and the possible role of electronic communication technology

Background: Since the development of Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines for the management of suicide clusters, the use of electronic communication technologies has increased dramatically. Aims: To describe an adolescent suicide cluster that drew our attention to the possible role of online social networking and SMS text messaging as sources of contagion after a suicide and obstacles […]

The social roots of suicide: Theorizing how the external social world matters to suicide and suicide prevention

The past 20 years have seen dramatic rises in suicide rates in the United States and other countries around the world. These trends have been identified as a public health crisis in urgent need of new solutions and have spurred significant research efforts to improve our understanding of suicide and strategies to prevent it. Unfortunately, […]

Suicide among soldiers and social contagion effects: An interrupted time-series analysis

Background: Suicide has become an increasingly concerning problem among soldiers in recent years. Previous research has hypothesized that media-related social contagion effects, termed “Werther effects,” may contribute to military suicide numbers. Unfortunately, there is limited empirical knowledge on such social contagion effects in soldiers. We contribute to the literature by investigating this phenomenon in the context […]

The impact of a widely publicized celebrity suicide on suicide-related internet search activity

Objective Media reporting of celebrities’ deaths by suicide are prone to suicide contagion effects. The aim of the current study is to examine whether the widely publicized celebrity suicide of Ari Behn in Norway was associated with changes in search activity of suicide-related terms. Method Search activity data for the terms “suicide,” “Ari Behn suicide,” […]

Violations of suicide-prevention guidelines in US media coverage of physician’s suicide death during the COVID-19 pandemic

Background: Healthcare workers are at elevated risk for suicide; though it has yet to be studied, this risk may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. News media coverage of high-profile suicide is associated with an increased risk of subsequent suicides. No analysis has yet been published of US media practices for reporting on healthcare worker suicides […]

Understanding suicide bereavement, contagion, and the importance of thoughtful postvention in schools (IN: Youth Suicide Prevention and Intervention, edited by J.P. Ackerman & L.M. Horowitz)

The rising rates of youth suicide in the USA demand thoughtful evidence-based strategies to help schools and communities recover after a suicide loss has occurred. With this chapter, we review research on the experience of suicide bereavement in adolescence, outline what is known about the potential for suicide to spread through social networks and for […]

Changes in suicide reporting quality and deaths in Ontario following publication of national media guidelines

Background: Media guidelines can influence suicide-related reporting quality and may impact suicide rates. Aim: Our study aimed to investigate the quality of suicide-related reporting after the release of the 2009 Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) guidelines and their impact on suicides. Method: A random sample of suicide-related articles (n = 988) were retrieved from 12 major Canadian print/online publications (2002–2015). Articles were […]

Pinning despair and distress: Suicide-related content on visual social media platform Pinterest

Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that an individual dies by suicide every 40 s. Aim: Our aim was to analyze how suicide is portrayed on the visual social media platform Pinterest. Method: This study used a quantitative content analysis of 500 suicide-related Pinterest posts. Content codes included the presence of factors related to the WHO media reporting guidelines. Results: The majority […]

The relationship between suicide-related Twitter events and suicides in Ontario from 2015-2016.

Background: Many studies have demonstrated suicide contagion through mainstream journalism; however, few have explored suicide-related social media events and their potential relationship to suicide deaths. Aims: To determine whether Twitter events were associated with changes in subsequent suicides. Methods: Suicide-related Twitter events that garnered at least 100 tweets originating in Ontario, Canada (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016) were […]

The Tool for Evaluating Media Portrayals of Suicide (TEMPOS): Development and application of a novel rating scale to reduce suicide contagion

Research suggests that media adherence to suicide reporting recommendations in the aftermath of a highly publicized suicide event can help reduce the risk of imitative behavior, yet there exists no standardized tool for assessing adherence to these standards. The Tool for Evaluating Media Portrayals of Suicide (TEMPOS) allows media professionals, researchers, and suicide prevention experts […]

Suicide contagion

Purpose of Review Suicide is a serious healthcare concern worldwide. In the USA, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death prior to 2020 when it was displaced as a result of the death toll from COVID-19. Recent Findings Suicide behavior is the result of the interaction between the individual’s predisposing factors and precipitating factors. […]

Responsible journalism, imitative suicide, and transgender populations: A systematic review of UK newspapers

Purpose: The risk of suicide is high in the transgender population. Imitative suicide occurs when excess suicidal behavior is observed following news media coverage of suicide. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how often UK newspapers adhere to suicide reporting guidelines designed to minimize imitative suicide when they report the suicides of transgender […]

Suicide and the agent-host-environment triad: Leveraging surveillance sources to inform prevention

Suicide in the US has increased in the last decade, across virtually every age and demographic group. Parallel increases have occurred in non-fatal self-harm as well. Research on suicide across the world has consistently demonstrated that suicide shares many properties with a communicable disease, including person-to-person transmission and point-source outbreaks. This essay illustrates the communicable […]

A content analysis and comparison of two peaks of newspaper reporting during a suicide cluster to examine implications for imitation, suggestion, and prevention

Background: During 2007–2008, media attention focused on a cluster of youth suicides in the UK. There were two peaks (P1, P2) in the volume of newspaper reporting of the deaths. The number of possible suicides was greater than expected at the time of the first peak but not at the time of the second. Aims: To explore any […]

The impact of widely publicized suicides on search trends: Using Google Trends to test the Werther and Papageno effects

The objective of this study was to examine the impact of widely publicized suicides on the Werther and Papageno Effects using internet search trends. A list of widely publicized suicides from 2010 through 2018 was compiled along with dates of death for each of these individuals. data were then collected for searches for “how […]

Examining the self-harm and suicide contagion effects of the Blue Whale challenge on YouTube and Twitter: Qualitative study

Background: Research suggests that direct exposure to suicidal behaviors and acts of self-harm through social media may increase suicidality through imitation and modeling, particularly in more vulnerable populations. One example of a social media phenomenon that demonstrates how self-harming behavior could potentially be propagated is the blue whale challenge. In this challenge, adolescents and young […]

Are suicidal behaviors contagious in adolescence? Using longitudinal data to examine suicide suggestion

Though Durkheim argued that strong social relationships protect individuals from suicide, we posit that these relationships have the potential to increase individuals’ vulnerability when they expose them to suicidality. Using three waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we evaluate whether new suicidal thoughts and attempts are in part responses to […]

13 reasons why not: A methodological and meta-analytic review of evidence regarding suicide contagion by fictional media

Background For decades, policymakers and suicide prevention advocates have questioned whether exposure to media with suicide themes, whether television, movies, or music, could increase suicide risk among youth. To date, no clear picture has emerged, with data inconsistent Aims To access whether current evidence can support concerns that fictional media increases risk of viewer suicidal […]

The effects of publicized suicide deaths on subsequent suicide counts in Israel

This study investigated associations between indiscriminate media reporting of suicides and later inflated suicide counts among Israel’s general population between the years 2008 and 2012. Self-inflicted deaths that received post-suicide media exposure (referred to as “publicized suicides”) were selected via Google news search-hit appraisals. Distributions of suicides were inspected and risk ratios (RRs) estimated by […]

Suicidal disclosures among friends: Using social network data to understand suicide contagion

A robust literature suggests that suicide is socially contagious; however, we know little about how and why suicide spreads. Using network data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we examine the effects of alter’s (1) disclosed and (2) undisclosed suicide attempts, (3) suicide ideation, and (4) emotional distress on ego’s mental […]