Year: 2001 Source: Crisis, v.22, no.4, (2001), p.155-162 SIEC No: 20020191

The association between the portrayal of suicide in fictional media & actual suicide has been debated since 1774, when it was asserted that Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther” had led people to take their own lives. Since that time, a plethora of studies considering the association have been conducted. This review considered 34 studies examining the impact of fictional portrayal of suicide (in film & television, music, & plays) on actual suicidal behaviour. Using strict criteria to establish causality, it was found the evidence for an association was more equivocal than was the case for nonfictional reporting. (51 refs.)