CRISE - IASP 2013 - Louise Pouliot & Brian Mishara

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COGNITIVE AND EMOTIONAL RESPONSES TO SUICIDE PROTRAYALS IN MOVIES: EVALUATION AND EXTENSION OF THE MODELING HYPOTHESIS

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CRISE - IASP 2013 - Louise Pouliot & Brian Mishara

  1. 1. Over the past thirty years, there has been a steady increase in explicit depictions of suicidal behaviours in fictional movies; Concerns have been raised that such depictions may foster suicidal modeling behaviours in viewers, often called the “Werther Effect”
  2. 2. The Werther Effect is most often explained as: An imitation process where identification with the suicidal protagonist is a prerequisite for imitation to occur. • Identification with the suicidal protagonist is more likely if the protagonist’s socio-demographic characteristics coincide with those of the viewer.
  3. 3. To test experimentally important tenets of the modeling hypothesis, the most common explanation of the association between media presentations of suicide and increases in suicide rates ( the “Werther Effect”)
  4. 4. Participants would: Have better memory of suicide portrayals involving a protagonist matching their gender; Identify more strongly with suicidal protagonists matching their gender; Report stronger emotional arousal from suicide portrayals involving a protagonist matching their gender;
  5. 5. Under the assumption that identification is an important prerequisite for learning of suicidal behaviour to occur: There will be a significant correlation between identification and memory of the suicidal portrayal; Under the assumption that audience members presenting suicidal propensities are more vulnerable to the Werther’s effect: There will be significant correlation between level of suicidal propensities and 1) memory, 2) identification and 3) emotional arousal.
  6. 6. Latin Square design for both studies; Study I: 51 participants exposed to 6 film excerpts depicting a completed suicide by or protagonist. Suicidal protagonist’s age was the same across excepts (young adult: 18 – 30 years of age). Same method of suicide (wrist cutting) in excepts, but triggering event varied.
  7. 7. Study II: 58 participants exposed to 4 film excerpts depicting a completed suicide by or  protagonist. Suicidal protagonist’s age was the same across excepts (young adult: 18 – 30 years of age). Method of suicide was varied across excepts while the triggering event was constant (relationship break up). Measurements in Study I and II: Memory /Emotional arousal/Identification / Suicidal tendencies/ and other Psychological vulnerability factors known to be related to suicidal behaviors.
  8. 8. • Hypothesis not supported: Wilks λ F (10, 428) = 1.07, p = .38, 2 = 0.024. • Hypothesis not supported: Wilks λ F (4.05, 174.07) = 2.30, p = 0.06, 2 = 0.024.
  9. 9. • (Note: There was a significant between subject main effect for Gender on identification : F (1, 43) = 4.60, p = .04, 2 = 0.097 . >) • Hypothesis not supported: Wilks λ F (3.80, 144.42) = .35, p = 0.83, 2 = 0.009.
  10. 10. Identification & Memory : r = -0.41, p = .003 Identification & Arousal: r = -0.18, p = .22 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = -0.19, p = 0.19 Identification & Memory : r = 0.23, p = .10 Identification & Arousal: r = 0.15, p = .29 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = -0.15, p = 0.20
  11. 11. Identification & Memory : r = -0.22, p = .12 Identification & Arousal: r = -0.26, p = .07 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = -0.03, p = 0.82 Identification & Memory : r = -0.03, p = .86 Identification & Arousal: r = -0.12, p = .41 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = -0.06, p = 0.66
  12. 12. Identification & Memory : r = 0.19, p = .19 Identification & Arousal: r = -0.44, p = .001 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = 0.07, p = 0.60 Identification & Memory : r = 0.09, p = 0.51 Identification & Arousal: r = -0.14, p = .33 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = -0.07, p = 0.65 Thought suppression & Memory: r = 0.32, p = .02
  13. 13. • Hypothesis not supported: Wilks λ F (2.569, 397.09) = 1.31 p = .27, 2 = 0.027. • Hypothesis : Wilks λ F (2.648, 1353.163) = 5.54, p = 0.002, 2 = 0.10.
  14. 14. • Hypothesis not supported: Wilks λ F (2.842, 142.103) = .92, p = 0.43, 2 = 0.018.
  15. 15. Identification & Memory : r = 0.13, p = 0.34 Identification & Arousal: r = -0.06, p = .68 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = 0.06, p = 0.67 Dissociation & Identification: r = 0.26, p = .05 Identification & Memory : r = 0.08, p = 0.55 Identification & Arousal: r = 0.29, p = .03 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = 0.35, p = 0.006
  16. 16. Identification & Memory : r = 0.05, p = .71 Identification & Arousal: r = 0.22, p = .10 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = 0.24, p = 0.08 Emotion regulation & Identification: r = 0.24, p = .08 Thought suppression & Identification: r = 0.23, p = .08 Identification & Memory : r = -0.02, p = 0.90 Identification & Arousal: r = 0.15, p = .26 Identification & Suicidal Ideation: r = 0.007, p = 0.96 Dissociation & Identification: r = 0.22, p = .10
  17. 17. No evidence that gender similitude was a significant factor accounting for memory and emotional response toward the suicide portrayals. Study 1 -non significant Gender X Film except interaction on identification, the reverse was true in Study 2, and accounts for 10% of the variance.
  18. 18. For the 8 suicide portrayals, no significant association between identification and memory. For 7 of the 8 suicide portrayals, no significant association between identification and emotional arousal. In 7 of the suicide portrayals, no significant association between level of suicidal ideation and identification. Preliminary results suggest that emotion regulation may be an important and more proximal factor in the Werther effect than are either identification or and suicidal tendencies.
  19. 19. No support for the imitation hypothesis. Results suggest that other psychological processes may underlie the Werther Effect. Gender similitude is a non necessary nor sufficient condition for identification to occur. Triggering event and method used may play an important role in the Werther Effect.

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