Media reporting on suicide: Evaluating the effects of including preventative resources and psychoeducational information on suicide risk, attitudes, knowledge, and help-seeking behaviors.
Williams, C.L. & Witte, T.K.
We evaluated the effects of exposure to a suicide news article on a variety of outcome variables and whether adhering to one specific media guideline (i.e., including psychoeducational information and preventative resources) buffered any of the negative effects of exposure. Participants were randomly assigned to read one of three articles and then asked to complete a battery of self-report questionnaires. Overall, we found no effect of exposure to a suicide news article, regardless of the inclusion of resources and information, with a few minor exceptions. Although researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of media guidelines in the aggregate at reducing imitative suicidal behavior, it remains unclear which guidelines in particular are responsible for this effect.