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Am J Psychiatry. 1988 Aug;145(8):982-6.

Fictional depiction of suicide in television films and imitation effects.

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Department of Psychology, American University, Washington, DC 20016.


Studies of imitative suicide by viewers of fictional depictions of suicide in television films have produced contradictory findings. Using a nationwide sample of cases of suicide, the author found no evidence for increased numbers of suicides after broadcast of three films. However, some support was found for an imitation effect specific to the depiction of a suicide method in one of these films (p less than 0.05). To the extent that fictional presentations of suicide may serve as stimuli for imitative behavior, the effect appears to depend on a complex interaction among characteristics of the stimulus, the observer of that stimulus, and conditions of time and geography.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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