This project was completed as part of the doctoral dissertation requirements of the first author under the direction of the second.
Are Written Reports of Suicide and Seeking Help Contagious? High Schoolers' Perceptions1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 21, Issue 18, pages 1517–1523, September 1991
How to Cite
Ann Pearson Gibson, J. and Rang, L. M. (1991), Are Written Reports of Suicide and Seeking Help Contagious? High Schoolers' Perceptions. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 21: 1517–1523. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1991.tb00485.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
To assess contagion for suicide and seeking mental health help, 128 high school students read a short vignette about a teen under stress. Half of them were told that this teen knew someone in the community who had similar problems and had committed suicide, and half were told that the teen knew someone in the community who had similar problems and had sought help from a mental health professional. A 2 (Gender of Respondent) × 2 (Gender of Victim) × 2 (Vignette: Response to Stress) analysis of variance indicated a significant main effect for response, and a significant two-way interaction for gender of respondent and response to stress. These high school students thought contagion occurred for suicide as well as seeking mental health help. Girls tended to be more responsive to seeking help, whereas boys were slightly more responsive to suicide. An implication is that publicity about seeking help may ameliorate suicidal contagion.