Belief in a Werther Effect: Third person effects in the perceptions of suicide risk of others and the moderating role of depression.
Scherr, Sebastian~~Reinemann, Carsten
Werther Effect research has almost solely focused on the behavioral level of media effects. Clinically relevant predispositions like depression as well as the moderating role of media effects on a perceptional level have been omitted so far. To bridge this gap, we reanalyzed the data of an experiment conducted by Rustad, Small, Jobes, Safer, and Peterson: volunteer students’ ratings for their self-risk of depression and suicide as well as their perceptions of others’ suicide risk were investigated. While a Werther Effect could not be observed, there is a general overestimation of media influences on others–presumed Werther Effects–that are moderated by the personal degree of depression.
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