Year: 2003 Source: Archives of Suicide Research, v.7, no.1, (2003), p.69-72 SIEC No: 20040128

A claim that “giving publicity to suicides may lead to an epidemic of suicides” was made in connection with “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” a novel by J W von Goethe, published in 1774. Imitation suicides have since been termed “the Werther effect.” The fear of an epidemic surrounding the book is examined in this article, & although a few cases of imitiative suicide were found, the evidence for an epidemic is not convincing. (19 refs)