The influence of media reporting of a celebrity suicide on suicidal behavior in patients with a history of depressive disorder

Andrew T A Cheng, Keith Hawton, Tony H H Chen, Amy M F Yen, Jung Chen Chang, Mian Yoon Chong, Chia Yih Liu, Yu Lee, Po Ren Teng, Lin Chen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Few studies have directly assessed the impact of a specific media report in vulnerable people. This study investigates possible influences of media reporting of a celebrity suicide on subsequent suicidal behaviors and associated risk factors among depressive patients. Methods: Depressive patients (N = 461) were assessed through a structured interview soon after extensive media reporting of a celebrity suicide. Results: Among 438 depressive patients exposed to the media report, 38.8% reported an influence on subsequent suicidal behaviors, including 24 (5.5%) with a suicide attempt. The risk of such influence was highest among patients in a severe depressive state just prior to the media report (adjusted OR 7.81, 95% CI 3.28-18.59). Such influence on a subsequent suicide attempt was highest in patients with a most recent suicide attempt within one month prior to the media reports (adjusted hazard ratio 11.91, 95% CI 3.76-37.72). Limitations: Our finding of the significant media influence may reflect adverse thoughts among more suicidal and depressed individuals. The possible influence of other factors on the findings cannot be ruled out. Conclusions: This study has provided more convincing evidence suggesting negative influences of media reporting of a celebrity suicide on subsequent suicidal behaviors among depressive patients. Particular attention in terms of potential negative media influences should be paid to patients who are younger and currently depressed and have made a recent suicide attempt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume103
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

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Depressive Disorder
Suicide
Interviews

Keywords

  • Celebrity suicide
  • Media
  • Suicide attempt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

The influence of media reporting of a celebrity suicide on suicidal behavior in patients with a history of depressive disorder. / Cheng, Andrew T A; Hawton, Keith; Chen, Tony H H; Yen, Amy M F; Chang, Jung Chen; Chong, Mian Yoon; Liu, Chia Yih; Lee, Yu; Teng, Po Ren; Chen, Lin Chen.

In: Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 103, No. 1-3, 11.2007, p. 69-75.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cheng, Andrew T A ; Hawton, Keith ; Chen, Tony H H ; Yen, Amy M F ; Chang, Jung Chen ; Chong, Mian Yoon ; Liu, Chia Yih ; Lee, Yu ; Teng, Po Ren ; Chen, Lin Chen. / The influence of media reporting of a celebrity suicide on suicidal behavior in patients with a history of depressive disorder. In: Journal of Affective Disorders. 2007 ; Vol. 103, No. 1-3. pp. 69-75.
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