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  • Adolescents live in a world surrounded by media. The average household has 2.24 television sets, while 66% of households have three or more. In 2008, one of the three leading causes of death for adolescents was suicide. Also to be noted, 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. Does the media influence the perceptions of adolescents in relation to suicide? In the following paper this question will be analyzed through the use of relevant literature.There is a relationship between the portrayal of suicide by the media and suicide rates among adolescents. Research for this hypothesis has provided information confirming and denying the effect of media on suicide. It is important to note that suicide is an independent act and hard to generalize to a large population without making speculations.
  • Through movies such as Sleeping Beauty, young children learn that death is not absolute. It is not until age 6-7 that adolescents learn that everyone dies. However, they do not completely understand death. Death to a 6-7 year old is like going to sleep and not waking up. Television shows that feature characters such as Wile E Coyote indicate aggression and frustration with trying to harm another individual. In Wile E’s case it is the Roadrunner. Adolescents see death on a daily basis, just look at the already described cartoon program. However, dolescents do not learn about suicide. For this literature review, the research used past information that lacked background information. Family situations could have influences the results, without further research there is no way of knowing the reliability of the information.
  • Research was collected from January 1987 to March 2005 in Japan. The research indicated that newspaper articles about suicide could predict male and female suicides. A correlation between internet usage and suicide could only be found among males. However, more males than females had internet access during the time of the research. With the growing use of the internet, there will likely be an increase in the time spent online. This research is one of the first of its kind, which means that the results had nothing to compare to and the findings may not be generalizable.
  • Williams (2011) compares with the research conducted by Hagihara, Tarumi, & Abe. However, Williams’ research goes further in depth about the media and its ways of spreading suicidal stories across the Internet. Some researchers believe the communication of suicide for prolonged periods can desensitize young people and cause ‘cluster’ suicides. Some researchers blame the suicides that happened in Wales on social networking sites while others are not so sure. Adolescents who witnessed suicide, even when the suicide was fictional, took more risks, were prone to substance misuse, and had higher depression scores. One weakness to the representation of this study is there was no information about the study itself. Questions such as “what individual sites were used” as well as “how did researchers determine sites visited” are all questions that need to be answered.
  • For this literature review there were 590 junior high school participants used in the study; 299 were male and 291 were female. Results for the self-reporting questionnaire indicated that 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, and 25.5% stated they have had a hurtful experience on the web. This research states that a history of suicide ideation may be related to the internet by means of email and web searches relating to suicide. The report failed to state how the studied variables cause suicidal thoughts. Since the study looked into suicidal ideation and not completed suicide, the results cannot confirm that electronic media causes adolescent suicide.
  • An article by Dr. Stack from the Department of Criminal Justice states that, political and celebrity suicide stories are 14.3 times more likely to create a copycat suicide than stories that do not include popular media figures. The measurements for this article were obtained from 293 findings in 42 scientific articles. Research has shown that media relating to real suicide versus fictional suicide are 4.03 times more likely to have a copycat suicide. One weakness of this article is it was based on past research and the article did not specify the location of the research events. This means the location could be a confounding variable.
  • In comparison to the results found in Dr. Stack’s article, another literature review found evidence of adolescents attempting suicide after the announcement of a celebrity suicide. For this particular study, research was taken after the suicide of a female celebrity known as Ivy Li. Attempted suicide participants who were hospitalized between November 14, 2008 and December 12, 2008 were used for the study. Results from a structured questionnaire showed 63 participants (68%) had encountered Li’s suicide through the media. The participants who had identified with Li’s suicide were less likely to have prior suicidal behaviors and a current diagnosis of depression. Results from this article cannot be generalized to a large group of people because the study had a small amount of participants and was only attempted once. Therefore the results cannot be considered reliable without further examination.
  • In part one of a three part series, Pirkis and Blood (2001) state that there is substantial empirical evidence that shows a consistent connection between the television’s portrayal of suicide and suicide rates. There is a strong correlation up to 10 days after a news report about suicide and declines in severity each day after. In this literature review a study by Phillips and Carstensen (1986) using regression analysis, which controlled for daily and season trends from 1973-1979, found that adolescent suicides increased seven days after a broadcast about suicide. A limitation to the research is the inability to know if suicide victims watched the publicized suicide story. The connection is only made by the time periods of the suicides in relation to the date of a suicide story
  • Gould, Jamieson, & Romer(2003) agree the media does directly effect adolescent suicide clustering. Their research showed an increase in hospitalization due to suicide attempts after watching a movie that depicted suicide. While suicide happens at every age range, there seems to be a higher percentage in adolescents. It has been theorized that adolescents may be more influenced by the information they observe by the medias modeling of events, both fact and fiction. The research article did not include specific information on the studies represented; instead it gave an overview. Important information such as the date of the studies, number of participants involved, and duration of the research limits the reliability of the information presented.
  • Six countries were considered in a research article about the effect of the media on adolescent suicide. Data from three central and three regional papers in 1981 and 1991 were used in the study . The content of the papers were analyzed with an emphasis on specified variables. Results from the analysis found that Hungary, unlike other countries, added positive connotations to suicide and sometimes heroized the act, therefore creating a greater risk for imitation. The report also found that Finland was the only country that quoted prevention techniques and therapy as an alternative method to suicide. The report lacked a connection with actual suicide; the research only looked at past newspapers and did not look at the amount of people that committed suicide around the times of the articles.
  • Unlike theresearch previously talked about, Goldney (2001) states that while the media does influence adolescent suicide clustering, the correlation between the two is relatively small, making up about 5% of suicides. The author put emphasis on the importance of the known correlation, stating that attempts should be made to educate adolescents about suicide. Fourteen studies found a reduction in adolescent suicide in areas that promoted suicide awareness volunteer organizations. The article by Goldney failed to address all the possible issues behind adolescent suicide not effected by the media.
  • There is a relationship between the portrayal of suicide by the media and suicide rates among adolescents. Throughout research there has been a common link between the media’s effect on adolescents and adolescent suicide rates. Some researchers consider the medias representation of suicide as a public health issue. What aspects of media effect adolescents the most? Does fictional media play a greater role on suicidal tendencies than nonfictional media? Some researchers have used social learning theory to explain the connection between the media and adolescent suicide. Katsumata, et al. (2008) state in 2008 one of the three leading causes of death for adolescents was suicide. Another research shows that15-19 year old adolescents are 2-4 times more likely, than any other age group, to commit suicide after being exposed to another person’s suicide. In the case of celebrity suicides being reported in the media, copycat suicides usually involve people who identify with the celebrity.
  • Many researchers believe there is no proof of correlation between the media’s presentation of suicide and adolescent suicide rates. However, after the release of Final Exit, a book that depicts suicide by asphyxiation, New York suicides from asphyxiation rose by 313%. Future research may study relationships between social networking sites and suicide rates among adolescents. Williams (2011) noted that the death of 24 young people might have been caused by the use of social networking sites.Goldney (2001) felt comfortable in stating there is an association between how the media portrays suicide and the suicides that follow. Media restrictions have been created in the United States; however according to the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, there is no proof these changes have taken effect. Mishara (2003) stated half of the children in his research aged 5-7 reported witnessing a suicide on television. In 2004, adolescent’s time spent on the internet in Japan was 6 minutes more that that spent reading the newspaper. With the growing use of smart phones and portable digital reading devices, the time adolescents spend reading stories online will only increase. The time to take action is now.

LeeAnn Rostberg Literature Review PowerPoint LeeAnn Rostberg Literature Review PowerPoint Presentation Transcript

  • 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
  • References
    Phillips D.P, Carstensen L.L. Clustering of teenage suicides after television news stories about suicide. New England Journal ofMedicine 1986; 315:685–689.
    Pirkis, J., & Blood, R. W. (2001). Suicide and the media: Part I. Reportage in nonfictional media. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 22(4), 146-154. doi:10.1027//0227-5910.22.4.146
    Shea, S. (1999). The practical art of suicide assessment: A guide for mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors. Hoboken NJ; John Wiley.
    Stack, S. (2003). Media coverage as a risk factor in suicide. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 57(4), 238-240. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/195361688?accountid=34899
    Williams, J. (2011). The effect on young people of suicide reports in the media. Mental Health Practice, 14(8), 34-36. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
    Ying-Yeh, C., Pei-Chen, T., Pao-Huan, C., Chun-Chieh, F., Galen, H., & Cheng, A. A. (2010). Effect of media reporting of the suicide of a singer in Taiwan: the case of Ivy Li. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 45(3), 363-369. doi:10.1007/s00127-009-0075-8