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Research demonstrates that depictions of violence and self-harm can increase the likelihood of copycat behaviors.  Adolescents are a vulnerable and highly impressionable group, frequently copying others’ behaviors or reacting in response to things they have seen.  Below is a list of some of the research in this area.


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  10. Berman, A.L. (1988). Fictional depiction of suicide in television films and imitation effects. American Journal of Psychiatry, 145, 982-986. Google ScholarCrossrefMedline

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  19. Canetto, S. S., & Lester, D.  (1998). Gender, culture and suicidal behavior.  Transcultural Psychiatry, 35, 163-191.

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  32. Feuer, V., & Havens, J. (2017). Teen suicide: Fanning the flames of a public health crisis. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 56, 723-724.

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  37. Gibson, J.A.P., & Range, L.M. (1991). Are written reports of suicide and seeking help contagious? High schoolers’ perceptions. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 21, 1517-1523. Google ScholarCrossref

  38. Gould, M.S. (1990). Suicide clusters and media exposure. In S.J. Blumenthal & D.J. Kupfer (Eds.), Suicide over the life cycle: Risk factors, assessment, and treatment of suicidal patients (pp. 517-532). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press. Google Scholar

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  40. Gould, M.S., & Davidson, L. (1988). Suicide contagion among adolescents. In A.R. Stiffman & R.A. Feldman (Eds.), Advances in adolescent mental health (pp. 29-59). Greenwich, CT: JAI. Google Scholar

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  46. Gould, M.S., & Shaffer, D. (1986). The impact of suicide in television movies: Evidence of imitation. New England Journal of Medicine, 315, 690-694. Google ScholarCrossrefMedline

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  48. Gould, M.S., Wallenstein, S., & Kleinman, M. (1990). Time-space clustering of teenage suicide. American Journal of Epidemiology, 131, 71-78. Google ScholarCrossrefMedline

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  52. Hawton, K., Simkin, S., Deeks, J.J., O’Connor, S., Keen, A., Altman, D.G., et al. (1999). Effects of a drug overdose in a television drama on presentations to hospital for self-poisoning: Time series and questionnaire study. British Medical Journal, 318, 972-977. Google ScholarCrossrefMedline

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  57. Ishii, K. (1991). Measuring mutual causation: Effect of suicide news on suicides in Japan. Social Science Research, 20, 188-195. Google ScholarCrossref

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  68. Nock, M.K., & Marzuk, P.M. (1999). Murder-suicide: Phenomenology and clinical implications. In D.G. Jacobs (Ed.), The Harvard Medical School guide to suicide assessment and intervention (pp. 188-209). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Google Scholar

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