Media reporting on suicide: Evaluating the effects of including preventative resources and psychoeducational information on suicide risk, attitudes, knowledge, and help-seeking behaviors
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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Imitative suicidal behaviors after a published suicide news story have been well documented; thus, guidelines for reporting practices have been developed and disseminated. The effectiveness of the guidelines on reducing population-level suicide rates has been demonstrated in two studies; however, no research has evaluated the impact of individual guidelines on variables known to be associated with suicide. We evaluated the effects of one guideline (i.e., including preventative resources and psychoeducational information) on attitudes toward suicide, knowledge about suicide, stigma of help-seeking behaviors, and other suicide risk factors. Two-hundred ninety-six participants were randomly assigned to read one of three articles: suicide-related articles with and without psychoeducational information and preventative resources and a neutral, a non-suicide-related article. We found no expected group differences on any of the relevant outcome variables. Results suggest that this guideline may not be effective at influencing attitudes toward suicide, knowledge about suicide, and stigma of help-seeking behavior.
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