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A content analysis and comparison of two peaks of newspaper reporting during a suicide cluster to examine implications for imitation, suggestion and prevention

Marchant, Amanda, Brown, Menna, Scourfield, Jonathan, Hawton, Keith, Cleobury, Louise, Dennis, Michael, Lloyd, Keith, McGregor, Jo and John, Ann 2020. A content analysis and comparison of two peaks of newspaper reporting during a suicide cluster to examine implications for imitation, suggestion and prevention. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 41 (5) , pp. 398-406. 10.1027/0227-5910/a000655

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Abstract

Background: During 2007–2008, media attention focused on a cluster of youth suicides in the UK. There were two peaks (P1, P2) in the volume of newspaper reporting of the deaths. The number of possible suicides was greater than expected at the time of the first peak but not at the time of the second. Aims: To explore any differences in the content of the reporting peaks and to consider implications for imitation and prevention. Method: A content analysis of two peaks of newspaper reporting was conducted. Results: There were 204 articles in P1 (December 27, 2007 to February 19, 2008) and 157 in P2 (February 20, 2008 to March 15, 2008). Four main themes were identified: individual stories; possible causes; features of reporting of the cluster; and educating and informing the public. P1 articles more frequently contained: explicit details of method; photographs of the deceased, and contained more characterization of individuals. Limitations: The focus was on print media, future studies should incorporate online and social media content. Conclusion: The findings provide some support for the hypothesis of a process of suggestion initiated by sensationalist reporting in P1. This contributes to the evidence base of the role of the press in suicide imitation and prevention, highlighting the importance of care when reporting suicides.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)
Publisher: Hogrefe
ISSN: 0227-5910
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 December 2019
Date of Acceptance: 9 October 2019
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2020 13:59
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/127989

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