Media portrayals and public health implications for suicide and other behaviors
VanderWeele, T.J., Mathur, M.B., & Chen, Y.
Accounts of contagion in suicide abound. For example, Émile Durkheim’s 1897 book Suicide: A Study in Sociology1 documents multiple striking incidents. We might wonder then whether such contagion extends also to the portrayal of suicide in the media. The evidence is mixed.2,3 A recent meta-analysis by Ferguson concluded that “evidence is not able to support the contention that fictional depictions of suicide lead to suicide contagion in viewers.”