Media Effect on Adolescent Suicide Rates LeeAnnRostberg Argosy University
Abstract The media’s effect on adolescent suicide rates has been examined and a correlation has been found. Research confirming and denying the effects of the media were considered in this literature review. Identifying with a suicide victim and the availability of information pertaining to suicide are factors of adolescent suicides. Additional issues were raised relating to areas other than the media on adolescent suicide and what the media should do to protect the young people of today.
Introduction The average household has 2.24 television sets, while 66% of households have three or more (Norman, 2007) Adolescents 15-19 years of age are 2-4 times more likely than any other age group to commit suicide after being exposed to another person’s suicide (Gould, Jamieson, & Romer, 2003) Research Question: Does the media influence the perceptionsof adolescents in relation to suicide? Hypothesis: There is a relationship between the portrayal of suicide by the media and suicide rates among adolescents
Adolescent Perceptions About Death - Mishara (2003) In the preschool days children look at death as sleeping and not something that lasts forever (Mishara, 2003). Adolescents age 6-7 understand that death happens to everybody (Mishara, 2003). Adolescents learn about death at a young age; and yet do not learn about suicide (Mishara, 2003). According to Mishara (2003), the media teaches adolescents that suicide is associated with feeling angry, frustrated, or seeking revenge.
Newspaper Articles and the Internet - Hagihara, Tarumi, & Abe (2007) Research byHagihara, Tarumi, & Abe (2007) concluded that newspaper articles about suicide could predict suicide for both males and females. A linear model, fitted to time series data (monthly), was used to conduct their research (Hagihara, et al, 2007). Research found that Internet usage was a predictor for male suicides, but had no correlation with female suicides (Hagihara, et al, 2007). During the year 2000, 47.525% of males had Internet access while only 36.1% of females had Internet access (Hagihara, et al, 2007).
Suicide Stories Across the Internet - Williams (2011) Between February 2007 and August 2008, 24 young people in Bridgend, Wales committed suicide after talking about it for long periods of time online. 14-year-old students who saw at least two suicides on television took more risks, were prone to substance misuse, and had higher depression scores than students not witnessing suicide on television
Suicide Stories Across the Internet - Katsumata, Matsumoto, Kitani, & Takeshima (2008) 590 junior high school participants used in the study; 299 were male and 291 were female 35.3% of participants had a history of suicidal ideation, 15.9% had access to information about suicide on the internet 32.2% reported anxiety about emails not getting replies 25.5% stated they have had a hurtful experience on the web
Political & Celebrity Suicides – Stack (1996) Political and celebrity suicide stories 14.3 times more likely to create a copycat suicide than regular stories (Stack, 1996) Media relating to real suicide versus fictional suicide are 4.03 times more likely to have a copycat suicide (Stack, 1996)
Political & Celebrity Suicides –Ying-Yeh, Pei-Chen, Pao-Huan, Chun-Chieh, Galen, & Cheng (2010) Research taken after female celebrity Ivy Li committed suicide. 68% of participants had encountered Li’s suicide through the media Participants who had identified with Li’s suicide were less likely to have prior suicidal behaviors.
Television’s Portrayal of Suicide - Pirkis and Blood (2001) Strong correlation up to 10 days after a news report about suicide (Pirkis & Blood, 2001). Suicide declines in severity each day after. Adolescent suicides increased seven days after a broadcast about suicide.
Television’s Portrayal of Suicide - Gould, Jamieson, & Romer (2003) Increase in hospitalization due to suicide attempts after watching a movie that depicted suicide (Gould et al., 2003). Higher percentage of suicide in adolescents versus other age ranges (Gould et al., 2003). Adolescents influenced by the information they observe, both fact and fiction
Suicide in Multiple Countries - Fekete, Schmidtke, Takahashi, Etzersdorfer, Upanne, & Osvath (2001) Data from three central and three regional papers in 1981 and 1991 used for study Hungary added positive connotations to suicide Sometimes heroized the act Created a greater risk for imitation (Fekete et al., 2001) Finland was the only country that quoted prevention techniques and therapy as an alternative method to suicide
Education About Suicide –Goldney (2001) Correlation between media and adolescent suicide clustering makes up about 5% of suicides. Attempt to educate adolescents about suicide 14 studies found a reduction in adolescent suicide in areas that promoted suicide awareness volunteer organizations
Conclusion There is a relationship between the portrayal of suicide by the media and suicide rates among adolescents Medias representation of suicide a public health issue (Fekete, et al., 2001) Unanswered Questions:What aspects of media effect adolescents the most?Does fictional media play a greater role on suicidal tendencies than nonfictional media? In 2008 one of the three leading causes of death for adolescents was suicide
Conclusion After release of Final Exit, New York suicides from asphyxiation rose by 313% (Stack, 2003) Future research may study relationships between social networking sites and suicide rates among adolescents Media restrictions have been created in the United States, no proof they have taken effect Half of the children in one research aged 5-7 reported witnessing a suicide on television The time to take action is now
References Fekete, S., Schmidtke, A., Takahashi, Y., Etzersdorfer, E., Upanne, M., & Osvath, P. (2001). Mass media, cultural attitudes, and suicide: Results of an international comparative study. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 22(4), 170-172. doi:10.1027//0227-5910.22.4.170 Goldney, R. D. (2001). The media and suicide: A cautionary view. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 22(4), 173-175. doi:10.1027/0227-5910.22.4.173 Gould, M., Jamieson, P., & Romer, D. (2003). Media contagion and suicide among the young. American Behavioral Scientist, 46(9), 1269-1284. doi:10.1177/0002764202250670 Hagihara, A., Tarumi, K., & Abe, T. (2007). Media suicide-reports, Internet use and the occurrence of suicides between 1987 and 2005 in Japan. BMC Public Health, 7321-7328. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Katsumata, Y., Matsumoto, T., Kitani, M., & Takeshima, T. (2008). Electronic media use and suicidal ideation in Japanese adolescents. Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, 62(6), 744-746. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1819.2008.01880.x Mishara, B. L. (2003). How the media influences children's conceptions of suicide. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 24(3), 128-130. doi:10.1027//0227-5910.24.3.128 Norman, H. (2007). Television and health. Retrieved from http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html
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