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Behav Sci Law. 2018 Mar;36(2):245-256. doi: 10.1002/bsl.2338.

Traditional and new media's influence on suicidal behavior and contagion.

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George Washington University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Washington, DC, USA.


The role of nonfictional and fictional media in suicide contagion has been well established, ostensibly beginning with the publication of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther in 1774. In recent decades, the emergence of several new forms of media (e.g. websites, social media, blogs, smartphone applications) has revolutionized the communication and social interaction paradigms. This article reviews "the Werther effect" (or suicide contagion related to media), special populations who are more influential or susceptible, current media reporting guidelines and their effectiveness, and the latest research on new media and its effect on suicide and suicide contagion. The aim is to update recommendations on how to mitigate the potential negative effects of both traditional and new media on suicidal behavior and suicide contagion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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