The impact of media reporting of the suicide of a singer on suicide rates in Taiwan
- 513 Downloads
To examine if widespread media reporting of the suicide of a young female singer by charcoal burning increased suicide rates, and to examine whether the suicide induced a high risk of imitation suicide by this method among the young female group.
Poisson time series autoregression model was applied to examine the relative risk of overall and subgroup (age, gender and method) suicides during the 2-week period after the initiation of media reporting of the celebrity suicide.
We found a significant increase (adjusted relative risk = 1.17, p = 0.04) in suicide deaths following media reporting of the celebrity suicide. The increase in suicides was particularly significant among female and young age groups. A marked increase in suicide by charcoal burning among females (adjusted relative risk = 1.44, p < 0.0001) was further observed.
Detailed description of a specific suicide method following celebrity suicides may induce extensive modeling effect, attracting wider age/sex groups to model the method. Our finding provides further support for restraining media reporting of celebrity suicide in suicide prevention.
KeywordsMedia report Celebrity suicide Charcoal burning Imitation suicide
- 1.Blood RW, Pirkis J, Holland K (2007) Media reporting of suicide methods: an Australian perspective. Crisis 28(suppl 1):64–69Google Scholar
- 9.Directorate-General of Budget Accounting and Statistics Executive Yuan Taiwan (2009) http://www.dgbas.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=17144&ctNode=3246. Accessed 28 April 2010
- 12.Hawton K, Willams K (2005) Media influences on suicidal behavior: evidence and prevention. In: Hawton K (ed) Prevention and treatment of suicidal behavior: from science to practice. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 293–306Google Scholar
- 19.World Health Organization (2008) Preventing suicide: a resource for media professionals. http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/resource_media.pdf. Accessed 28 April 2010
- 21.Yip PSF, Lee DTS (2007) Charcoal-burning suicides and strategies for prevention. Crisis 28(suppl 1):21–27Google Scholar