To what extent does the reporting behavior of the media regarding a celebrity suicide influence subsequent suicides in South Korea?

  • Lee J
  • Lee W
  • Hwang J
 et al. 
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Abstract

This study investigated the nature of media coverage of a national entertainer's suicide and its impact on subsequent suicides. After the celebrity suicide, the number of suicide-related articles reported surged around 80 times in the week after the suicide compared with the week prior. Many articles (37.1%) violated several critical items on the World Health Organization suicide reporting guidelines, like containing a detailed suicide method. Most gender and age subgroups were at significantly higher risk of suicide during the 4 weeks after the celebrity suicide. Results imply that massive and noncompliant media coverage of a celebrity suicide can cause a large-scale copycat effect.

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Authors

  • Jesuk Lee

  • Weon Young Lee

  • Jang Sun Hwang

  • Steven John Stack

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