Accounts of contagion in suicide abound. For example, Émile Durkheim’s 1897 book Suicide: A Study in Sociology1 documents multiple striking incidents. We might wonder then whether such contagion extends also to the portrayal of suicide in the media. The evidence is mixed.2,3 A recent meta-analysis by Ferguson concluded that “evidence is not able to support the contention that fictional depictions of suicide lead to suicide contagion in viewers.”2(p7-8)
VanderWeele TJ, Mathur MB, Chen Y. Media Portrayals and Public Health Implications for Suicide and Other Behaviors. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(9):891–892. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0842
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