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Health Commun. 2017 Sep;32(9):1082-1092. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1214214. Epub 2016 Aug 26.

Social Representation of Cyberbullying and Adolescent Suicide: A Mixed-Method Analysis of News Stories.

Author information

1
a School of Journalism and Mass Communication , University of Iowa.
2
b School of Journalism , University of Missouri.
3
c School of Journalism and Electronic Media , University of Tennessee.

Abstract

Cyberbullying has provoked public concern after well-publicized suicides of adolescents. This mixed-methods study investigates the social representation of these suicides. A content analysis of 184 U.S. newspaper articles on death by suicide associated with cyberbullying or aggression found that few articles adhered to guidelines suggested by the World Health Organization and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to protect against suicidal behavioral contagion. Few articles made reference to suicide or bullying prevention resources, and most suggested that the suicide had a single cause. Thematic analysis of a subset of articles found that individual deaths by suicide were used as cautionary tales to prompt attention to cyberbullying. This research suggests that newspaper coverage of these events veers from evidence-based guidelines and that more work is needed to determine how best to engage with journalists about the potential consequences of cyberbullying and suicide coverage.

PMID:
27566406
DOI:
10.1080/10410236.2016.1214214
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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