The second leading cause of death among the U.S. adolescents is suicide. Adolescents commit suicide for many reasons: family issues, peer influences, schooling, health-related issues, cultural differences, and others. Imitation is also found to be another crucial cause of suicides among adolescents.
A study reveals that the suicide rates among the adolescents increase with the media coverage of an adolescent suicide or a celebrity’s suicide. The study found that the adolescents’ suicide rates increase as the adolescents imitate what they find in the media coverage.
The study was conducted by Sang Yup Lee, an assistant professor of the Communication Department at Yonsei University in South Korea.
The researcher measured, analyzed and counted the news reports covered by the three major TV networks in South Korea -KBS, MBS and SBS, from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2015. In that period, the researcher also counted and analyzed the pattern of 1,896 suicide incidents occurred by 13 to 19 years age kids or adolescents in South Korea.
In the two weeks after any media coverage of an adolescent suicide, the adolescent suicidal incidents occurred more, while the pattern is same in the following weeks after media coverage of a celebrity suicide, the study revealed.
The news of local celebrities’ suicide have more influence on the adolescents to commit suicide than the foreign celebrities’ suicide.
The media houses, in this regard, were urged to use responsible practices when reporting on suicides. The study also suggested to journalists that they avoid detailing the suicide incidents to avoid imitation by adolescents.
To read more: https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2019.1570200
Sang Yup Lee (2019) Media Coverage of Adolescent and Celebrity Suicides and Imitation Suicides among Adolescents, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 63:1, 130-143, DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2019.1570200