Evidence has accumulated to support the idea that suicidal behavior is “contagious” in that it can be transmitted, directly or indirectly, from one person to another (Gould, 1990). This evidence is derived from three bodies of research: studies of the impact of media reporting on suicide, studies of suicide clusters, and studies of the impact on adolescents of exposure to a suicidal peer. In each case, suicide contagion can be viewed within the larger context of behavioral contagion or social learning theory. While research has also addressed the distinct but related topic of the contagion of nonsuicidal self-injurious behavior (Jacobson and Gould, 2009; Hawton et al., 2010; Whitlock, 2010), the current review focuses specifically on attempted and completed suicide.
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