The Tool for Evaluating Media Portrayals of Suicide (TEMPOS): Development and application of a novel rating scale to reduce suicide contagion
Sorensen, C.C., Lien, M., Harrison, V., Donoghue, J., Kapur, J.S., Kim, S.H., ... Patel, S.G.
Research suggests that media adherence to suicide reporting recommendations in the aftermath of a highly publicized suicide event can help reduce the risk of imitative behavior, yet there exists no standardized tool for assessing adherence to these standards. The Tool for Evaluating Media Portrayals of Suicide (TEMPOS) allows media professionals, researchers, and suicide prevention experts to assess adherence to the recommendations with a user-friendly, standardized rating scale. An interdisciplinary team of raters constructed operational definitions for three levels of adherence to each of the reporting recommendations and piloted the scale on a sample of articles to assess reliability and clarify scale definitions. TEMPOS was then used to evaluate 220 news articles published during a high-risk period following the suicide deaths of two public figures. Post-hoc analyses of the results demonstrated how data produced by TEMPOS can be used to inform research and public health efforts, and inter-rater reliability analyses revealed substantial agreement across raters and criteria. A novel, wide-reaching, and practical approach to suicide prevention, TEMPOS allows researchers, suicide prevention professionals, and media professionals to study how adherence varies across contexts and can be used to guide future efforts to decrease the risk of media-induced suicide contagion.