Mass media in system of predictors for suicidal behavior in adolescents



The article provides an overview of international sources that attempt to identify the effect of mass media information messages concerning suicide on the public. We concern the possibility of imitative suicides after media coverage of suicide incidents (“Werter syndrome”), providing data on suicides increase following media reports on this topic. We discuss the data obtained by surveys conducted among Internet users of pro-suicidal web sites. On the example of recent international research, we note that despite the contradicting research results, the mass media impact on suicidal adolescents and young adults is possible, especially among young people most affected by external influences. The analysis of causes, motives and methods of suicide among adolescents and young people, as described by media, showed that among the causes dominate family and peers conflicts, among the motives – “protest"”, “revenge” (48%) and “call” (16.6%). Pre-suicidal period in 75% of patients was characterized as affective and stressful. The article emphasizes that simplification of media reports and their focusing on one of the suicide risk factors (family, school, or Internet) cannot see the whole picture of suicidal behavior as a set of internal and external factors and their interaction.

General Information

Keywords: suicide, teenagers, media coverage, pro-suicidal web sites, motives and methods of suicide among adolescents and young adults.

Journal rubric: Psychological Safety

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Vikhristyuk O.V., Bannikov G.S., Letova A.V. Mass media in system of predictors for suicidal behavior in adolescents [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie [Psychological Science and Education], 2013. Vol. 5, no. 1 (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Olesya V. Vikhristyuk, PhD in Psychology, Director of Center for Emergent Psychological Aid, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Gennady S. Bannikov, PhD in Medicine, Senior Researcher, Department of Suicidology, Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry (Branch), V.P. Serbsky National Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Narcology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Senior Researcher, Department of Scientific and Methodological Support, Federal Coordination Center for the Provision of Psychological Services in the Education System of the Russian Federation, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anna V. Letova, Laboratory Assistant, Center for Emergent Psychological Aid, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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