Effects of media reports and the subsequent voluntary withdrawal from sale of suicide-related products on the suicide rate in Japan

Akihito Hagihara, Takeru Abe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Media reports of suicides have an impact on suicide rates. However, countermeasures to this media effect have not been evaluated. We examined the association between media reports of suicides accomplished with the use of hydrogen sulfide, the voluntary stoppage of sales of suicide-related products, and suicide rates for people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s in Japan. The Box-Jenkins transfer function model was applied to monthly time series data from February 2003 to December 2009 (83 months). In the male suicide time series, media reports of suicide were not related to suicide counts (ω (R) = 8.988, P = 0.694). Similarly, stopping the sale of bath salts was not related to the number of suicides ((ω(S) = -7.344, P = 0.694). However, in the female suicide time series, media reports of suicide were related to the number of suicides (ω (R) = 17.225, P = 0.049). Similarly, stopping the sale of bath salts was related to the number of suicides (ω( S) = -18.545, P = 0.040). The results suggest that stopping the sale of bath salts might be effective in reducing the number of copycat suicides among the women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. In practice, stopping the sale of suicide-related products might be a potentially effective countermeasure to prevent copycat suicides triggered by media coverage of suicides.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-251
    Number of pages7
    JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
    Volume262
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr

    Keywords

    • Hydrogen sulfide
    • Media coverage
    • Suicide
    • Suicide-related products

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry
    • Pharmacology (medical)

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