Background: Suicide attempters are known to be vulnerable to the influence of media reporting of suicide events. This study investigates possible influences of media reporting of a celebrity suicide on subsequent suicide attempts and associated risk factors among suicide attempters.
Methods: Sixty-three suicide attempters registered in a surveillance system of Taipei City Suicide Prevention Center were assessed using a structured interview soon after media reporting of the suicide of a young female singing star.
Results: Forty-three (68%) respondents had encountered with the suicide news. Among them, 37% reported being influenced by the media reporting on their subsequent suicide attempts. Men (adjusted OR 6.36, 95% CI 1.29-31.44) and younger age groups (adjusted OR 4.93, 95% CI 1.04-23.45) were more susceptible to the media reporting. There was a positive modeling effect in method of suicide (charcoal burning) (adjusted OR 7.27, 95% CI 6.31-168.66).
Conclusions: This study has provided further evidence for suicide imitation among vulnerable people encountered with media reporting of celebrity suicide, and for the need to actively restrain reporting of suicides to decrease the imitation effect.