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Conference Paper: The Study of 'Suicide Contagion' During Dawning Social Media Era: A Critical Review from a Network Science Perspective

TitleThe Study of 'Suicide Contagion' During Dawning Social Media Era: A Critical Review from a Network Science Perspective
Authors
Issue Date2013
PublisherUniversitetet i Oslo. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.med.uio.no/ipsy/ssff/suicidologimeny.html
Citation
The 27th World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Research and Prevention, Oslo, Norway, 24-28 September 2013. In Suicidologi, 2013, v. 18 n. Suppl. 1, p. 96-97, abstract no. PS1.01-1 How to Cite?
AbstractStudy objectives: Our review considers how the study of “suicide contagion” will benefit from examination through the lens of Network Science, especially during this era of rapidly expanding use of electronic social media. We will clarify the concept of 'contagion,' trace its historical usage and theoretical basis as related to suicide, and explore the potential leverage offered by Network Science. Methods: Publications relevant to “suicide contagion” were collected through systematic literature searches; full-texts were downloaded. References cited as explaining or demonstrating “suicide contagion” also were included in the review. We used citation network analysis to identify key papers for in-depth review. Critical review was performed to identify research gaps and propose potential utility of Network Science and social media studies. Results: Many studies invoked “suicide contagion” without clearly defining what was meant. Among those where the denotation was more apparent, “contagion” has been used principally in two fashions. One referred to the pattern of suicidal behaviors, reflecting a temporally associated (most often local) increase in deaths – also labeled a “suicide cluster.” The other referred to the mechanism that was postulated to explain local clusters or an upsurge of deaths following media coverage of a suicide – suggesting that these were imitation or “copycat” suicides. The theoretical root of suicide contagion can be traced to studies of biological or social contagions. The former is based on the germ theory and motivated by disease control and prevention, whereas the latter more often is motivated by promoting new ideas, products, or healthy behaviors. Studies of both biological and social contagions are increasingly adapting Network Science perspectives and models into their research designs. However, we found no study that has examined empirically whether suicide contagion fits any biological or social network model. Online social media can provide essential data to investigate the transmission of suicide-related knowledge, information, attitudes, affects, and behaviors in complex social networks, with a flexible range from aggregated level to individual level. Conclusion: It is essential for researchers to precisely define “contagion” as the first step when investigating its relevance to suicide. Network Science and social media studies both offer promising approaches for exploring this important phenomenon.
DescriptionSession PS1.1: Online Search Behaviours, Search Outcomes and Online Safety - The Social Media & Internet Symposium of the Task Force Media & Suicide
The abstract can be viewed at: http://www.iasp2013.org/images/book_of_abstracts_IASP2013.pdf
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/205459
ISSN

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorCheng, Qen_US
dc.contributor.authorLi, Hen_US
dc.contributor.authorSilenzio, Ven_US
dc.contributor.authorCaine, EDen_US
dc.date.accessioned2014-09-20T02:35:18Z-
dc.date.available2014-09-20T02:35:18Z-
dc.date.issued2013en_US
dc.identifier.citationThe 27th World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Research and Prevention, Oslo, Norway, 24-28 September 2013. In Suicidologi, 2013, v. 18 n. Suppl. 1, p. 96-97, abstract no. PS1.01-1en_US
dc.identifier.issn1501-6994-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/205459-
dc.descriptionSession PS1.1: Online Search Behaviours, Search Outcomes and Online Safety - The Social Media & Internet Symposium of the Task Force Media & Suicide-
dc.descriptionThe abstract can be viewed at: http://www.iasp2013.org/images/book_of_abstracts_IASP2013.pdf-
dc.description.abstractStudy objectives: Our review considers how the study of “suicide contagion” will benefit from examination through the lens of Network Science, especially during this era of rapidly expanding use of electronic social media. We will clarify the concept of 'contagion,' trace its historical usage and theoretical basis as related to suicide, and explore the potential leverage offered by Network Science. Methods: Publications relevant to “suicide contagion” were collected through systematic literature searches; full-texts were downloaded. References cited as explaining or demonstrating “suicide contagion” also were included in the review. We used citation network analysis to identify key papers for in-depth review. Critical review was performed to identify research gaps and propose potential utility of Network Science and social media studies. Results: Many studies invoked “suicide contagion” without clearly defining what was meant. Among those where the denotation was more apparent, “contagion” has been used principally in two fashions. One referred to the pattern of suicidal behaviors, reflecting a temporally associated (most often local) increase in deaths – also labeled a “suicide cluster.” The other referred to the mechanism that was postulated to explain local clusters or an upsurge of deaths following media coverage of a suicide – suggesting that these were imitation or “copycat” suicides. The theoretical root of suicide contagion can be traced to studies of biological or social contagions. The former is based on the germ theory and motivated by disease control and prevention, whereas the latter more often is motivated by promoting new ideas, products, or healthy behaviors. Studies of both biological and social contagions are increasingly adapting Network Science perspectives and models into their research designs. However, we found no study that has examined empirically whether suicide contagion fits any biological or social network model. Online social media can provide essential data to investigate the transmission of suicide-related knowledge, information, attitudes, affects, and behaviors in complex social networks, with a flexible range from aggregated level to individual level. Conclusion: It is essential for researchers to precisely define “contagion” as the first step when investigating its relevance to suicide. Network Science and social media studies both offer promising approaches for exploring this important phenomenon.en_US
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherUniversitetet i Oslo. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.med.uio.no/ipsy/ssff/suicidologimeny.htmlen_US
dc.relation.ispartofSuicidologien_US
dc.titleThe Study of 'Suicide Contagion' During Dawning Social Media Era: A Critical Review from a Network Science Perspectiveen_US
dc.typeConference_Paperen_US
dc.identifier.emailCheng, Q: chengqj@connect.hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.hkuros236271en_US
dc.identifier.volume18en_US
dc.identifier.issueSuppl. 1-
dc.identifier.spage96, abstract no. PS1.01-1-
dc.identifier.epage97, abstract no. PS1.01-1-
dc.publisher.placeNorway-

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