Year: 2017 Source: Crisis.(2016).37(5):392-395. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000377 SIEC No: 20170035

Concern has been expressed about the potentially contagious effect of television soap opera suicides and suicidal language in social media. Aims: Twitter content was analyzed during the week in which a fictional assisted suicide was broadcast on a British television soap opera, “Coronation Street.” Method: Tweets were collected if they contained language indicating possible suicidal intent or used the word suicide. The modified Thompson tau method was used to test for any differences in the volume of tweets in both categories on the day of screening. Content analysis broke down the use of the word suicide into six thematic categories. Results: There was no evidence on the day of screening of an increase in tweets expressing possible suicidal intent but there was an increase in tweets containing the word suicide. Content analysis found the most common thematic category to be information or support, followed by the raising of moral issues in relation to suicide. Conclusion: It is possible that for certain high-profile media events Twitter may be used more as a civic reactive forum than as a medium for introspection or disclosure of distress.

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