Music and suicidality: a quantitative review and extension.
Stack, S.~~Lester, D.~~Rosenberg, J.
This article provides the first quantitative review of the literature on music and suicidality. Multivariate logistic regression techniques are applied to 90 findings from 21 studies. Investigations employing ecological data on suicide completions are 19.2 times more apt than other studies to report a link between music and suicide. More recent and studies with large samples are also more apt than their counterparts to report significant results. Further, none of the studies based on experimental research designs found a link between music and suicide ideation, prompting us to do a brief content analysis of 24 suicide songs versus 24 nonsuicide songs from the same album. Using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software, we found no difference in the content of the suicide songs and controls, including the percentage of sad words, negative affect, and mentions of death, thus providing an explanation for nonfindings from experimental research. In summary, ecologically based (which capture at-risk persons not in typical school-based samples) and more recent investigations (which have used superior or new methodologies) tend to demonstrate a linkage between music and suicidality. Experimental research is needed with a control group of songs from an alternative genre with low suicidogenic content.
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