Imitative adolescent suicide : the effects of media coverage



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Timely intervention in anticipation of a suicidal crisis is essential for successful treatment. In an effort to identify and clarify factors that may influence a suicidal crisis in an adolescent, this study examined the degree to which media stimulation affected adolescent suicide statistics. The cluster suicides which occurred in Clear Lake (Houston), Texas in 1984, were studied. It was expected that the resultant high level of media coverage would have exacerbated the situation and many more adolescents would have committed suicide after it. Adolescent automobile fatalities were also studied. An ex post facto study, using State of Texas mortality data, was the framework from which this study was conducted. Suicide statistics in the period following media stimulation were compared with two periods in which media stimulation was absent. The statistical analysis revealed an unexpected drop in the number of adolescent suicides and motor vehicle fatalities following the media stimulation. [...]



Youth--Suicidal behavior, Mass media and youth