ERIC Number: EJ868106
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Reference Count: 36
Gauging Media Influence on Adolescent Suicide Rates
Siegel, Darren; McCabe, Paul C.
Communique, v38 n4 p1, 10-12 Dec 2009
The "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2004, suicide was the third leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year olds and accounted for 4,599 deaths. From 2003 to 2004, suicide rates of females age 10-14 years and 15-19 years and males age 15-19 years increased significantly. The CDC advised federal and state agencies along with various health authorities to aim suicide prevention initiatives specifically at these groups. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that within a 12-month period, approximately 19% of teens seriously consider attempting suicide, 15% formulate a suicide plan, 9% actually attempt suicide, and 2.6% of adolescents' suicide attempts are so serious that they require emergency medical treatment. Based on these rates, about 2 million suicide attempts by adolescents occur per year. This article investigates how several forms of media (newspapers, television, and the Internet) can influence the suicidality of teenagers who are predisposed to this type of ideation. Currently, there is no research asserting that suicide is caused by any type of newspaper report, television program (either real or fictional), or movie. The authors' objective was to identify specific characteristics of media accounts that tend to precede increases in the suicide rates of a particular community or region. In other words, can a media report or depiction of suicide actually induce a copycat effect or suicide contagion on predisposed adolescents?
Descriptors: Medical Services, Human Services, Disease Control, Prevention, Suicide, Death, Adolescents, State Agencies, Television, Mass Media Role, Newspapers, Internet, Films
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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