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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1989 Sep;177(9):551-5.

Network television news stories about suicide and short-term changes in total U.S. suicides.

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Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48106-1248.


A number of recent reports have documented a positive association between mass media news stories about suicide and subsequent short-term increases in total U.S. suicides. However, the estimated magnitude of this association varies considerably across these published reports and tends to be smaller in the more comprehensive studies. A detailed investigation of all network television suicide news stories broadcast between January 1, 1973, and December 31, 1984, was undertaken to resolve this inconsistency. The information about television coverage of suicides was more comprehensive than in previous studies. The analyses show that there was no reliable association between news stories and suicides among adults at any time over the 12 years investigated. A reliable association existed among teenagers between 1973 and 1980. This association reversed in 1981, however, and the relative risk of suicide associated with network news stories was consistently less than 1.0 through the end of the study period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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