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Crisis. 2011;32(3):143-51. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000068.

Hyperlinked suicide: assessing the prominence and accessibility of suicide websites.

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1
University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The relationship between the Internet and suicide is a topic of growing concern among suicide researchers and the public, though to date few have actually attempted to investigate the accessibility and prominence of suicide-related information online, and there have been no comprehensive studies of site networking structure.

AIMS:

To assess the visibility of various types of online information to suicide-risk individuals, and to assess the prominence and accessibility of "pro-suicide," suicide prevention, and support sites by measuring their networking structure.

METHODS:

Employing empirically derived search terms, we used the web-based Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks (VOSON) to conduct hyperlink network analysis (HNA) of suicide-related websites.

RESULTS:

Pro-suicide sites are rare and marginal, while sites dedicated to information about suicide as well as sites dedicated to prevention policy and advocacy are readily accessible.

CONCLUSIONS:

The networking structure of suicide-related Internet content has not been described previously. Our analysis shows that HNA is a useful method for gaining an indepth understanding of network traffic in relation to suicide-content websites. This information will be useful for strengthening the web presence of support and suicide prevention sites, and for monitoring changes over time.

PMID:
21616763
DOI:
10.1027/0227-5910/a000068
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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