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Media Portrayals and Public Health Implications for Suicide and Other Behaviors

Media Portrayals and Public Health Implications for Suicide and Other Behaviors Opinion EDITORIAL Media Portrayals and Public Health Implications for Suicide and Other Behaviors Tyler J. VanderWeele, PhD; Maya B. Mathur, PhD; Ying Chen, ScD Accounts of contagion in suicide abound. For example, that portrayal of suicide leads to higher suicide incidence in at least some settings. As the evidence of Niederkrotenthaler Émile Durkheim’s 1897 book Suicide: A Study in Sociology documents multiple striking incidents. We might wonder then et al indicates, the release of 13 Reasons Why may constitute whether such contagion ex- one such setting. When heterogeneity exists, the important tends also to the portrayal of question becomes whether we can discern in which settings suicide in the media. The evi- media portrayal leads to harmful effects, is neutral, or Related article page 933 2,3 dence is mixed. A recent is protective. meta-analysis by Ferguson concluded that “evidence is not The effect estimates here are not huge. A correlation of 0.06 able to support the contention that fictional depictions of or even 0.10 is not all that substantial; likewise, even in the 2(p7-8) 3 suicide lead to suicide contagion in viewers.” Niederkrotenthaler et al study, the estimated increase in In this issue of JAMA Psychiatry, Niederkrotenthaler et al http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JAMA Psychiatry American Medical Association

Media Portrayals and Public Health Implications for Suicide and Other Behaviors

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright 2019 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
2168-622X
eISSN
2168-6238
DOI
10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0842
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Opinion EDITORIAL Media Portrayals and Public Health Implications for Suicide and Other Behaviors Tyler J. VanderWeele, PhD; Maya B. Mathur, PhD; Ying Chen, ScD Accounts of contagion in suicide abound. For example, that portrayal of suicide leads to higher suicide incidence in at least some settings. As the evidence of Niederkrotenthaler Émile Durkheim’s 1897 book Suicide: A Study in Sociology documents multiple striking incidents. We might wonder then et al indicates, the release of 13 Reasons Why may constitute whether such contagion ex- one such setting. When heterogeneity exists, the important tends also to the portrayal of question becomes whether we can discern in which settings suicide in the media. The evi- media portrayal leads to harmful effects, is neutral, or Related article page 933 2,3 dence is mixed. A recent is protective. meta-analysis by Ferguson concluded that “evidence is not The effect estimates here are not huge. A correlation of 0.06 able to support the contention that fictional depictions of or even 0.10 is not all that substantial; likewise, even in the 2(p7-8) 3 suicide lead to suicide contagion in viewers.” Niederkrotenthaler et al study, the estimated increase in In this issue of JAMA Psychiatry, Niederkrotenthaler et al

Journal

JAMA PsychiatryAmerican Medical Association

Published: Sep 29, 2019

References