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Modelling and suicide: a test of the Werther effect


Jonas, Klaus (1992). Modelling and suicide: a test of the Werther effect. British Journal of Social Psychology, 31(4):295-306.

Abstract

The present study investigates whether news about suicides of prominent persons evokes an imitative effect. To this end, daily overall suicide frequencies of a German federal state, Baden-Wurttemberg, were examined for the years 1968 to 1980 and were related to prominent suicides that were publicized in major newspapers. Data were analysed quasi-experimentally and by means of a time series regression analysis. These methods yielded significant or marginally significant increases, respectively, for the week following the news. Alternative social psychological explanations were examined, and possible statistical artifacts were taken into account. The results are on the whole consistent with the assumption of an imitative effect.

Abstract

The present study investigates whether news about suicides of prominent persons evokes an imitative effect. To this end, daily overall suicide frequencies of a German federal state, Baden-Wurttemberg, were examined for the years 1968 to 1980 and were related to prominent suicides that were publicized in major newspapers. Data were analysed quasi-experimentally and by means of a time series regression analysis. These methods yielded significant or marginally significant increases, respectively, for the week following the news. Alternative social psychological explanations were examined, and possible statistical artifacts were taken into account. The results are on the whole consistent with the assumption of an imitative effect.

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35 citations in Web of Science®
27 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1992
Deposited On:23 Oct 2012 13:10
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:00
Publisher:British Psychological Society
ISSN:0144-6665
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8309.1992.tb00974.x

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