Article

An adolescent suicide cluster and the possible role of electronic communication technology.

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Crisis The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.09). 05/2012; 33(4):239-45. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000140
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Since the development of Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) guidelines for the management of suicide clusters, the use of electronic communication technologies has increased dramatically.
To describe an adolescent suicide cluster that drew our attention to the possible role of online social networking and SMS text messaging as sources of contagion after a suicide and obstacles to recognition of a potential cluster.
A public health approach involving a multidisciplinary community response was used to investigate a group of suicides of New Zealand adolescents thought to be a cluster. Difficulties in identifying and managing contagion posed by use of electronic communications were assessed.
The probability of observing a time-space cluster such as this by chance alone was p = .009. The cases did not belong to a single school, rather several were linked by social networking sites, including sites created in memory of earlier suicide cases, as well as mobile telephones. These facilitated the rapid spread of information and rumor about the deaths throughout the community. They made the recognition and management of a possible cluster more difficult.
Relevant community agencies should proactively develop a strategy to enable the identification and management of suicide contagion. Guidelines to assist communities in managing clusters should be updated to reflect the widespread use of communication technologies in modern society.

2 Bookmarks
 · 
227 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Suicide clusters are a rare and underresearched phenomenon which attract wide media attention and result in heightened concern in the communities where they occur. We conducted a systematic literature review covering the definition and epidemiology of the time–space clustering of suicidal behavior. Of the 890 articles identified by electronic searching, 82 were selected for inclusion and the extracted data were analyzed by narrative synthesis. Less than a third of studies included a definition of a suicide cluster, and definitions varied considerably. Clusters occurred in various settings, including psychiatric hospitals, schools, prisons, indigenous communities, and among the general population. Most clusters involved young people. The proportion of all episodes that occurred in clusters varied considerably between studies and partly depended on study methodology (e.g., a larger proportion was found in studies of specific clusters compared with general population studies). Future studies should aim to combine the statistical analysis of time–space clustering with a case study of events, which examines potential links between individuals and the wider environmental context.
    Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 04/2014; · 1.33 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Social networking sites (SNSs) have the potential to increase the reach and efficiency of essential public health services, such as surveillance, research, and communication. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic literature review to identify the use of SNSs for public health research and practice and to identify existing knowledge gaps. We performed a systematic literature review of articles related to public health and SNSs using PubMed, EMBASE, and CINAHL to search for peer-reviewed publications describing the use of SNSs for public health research and practice. We also conducted manual searches of relevant publications. Each publication was independently reviewed by 2 researchers for inclusion and extracted relevant study data. A total of 73 articles met our inclusion criteria. Most articles (n=50) were published in the final 2 years covered by our search. In all, 58 articles were in the domain of public health research and 15 were in public health practice. Only 1 study was conducted in a low-income country. Most articles (63/73, 86%) described observational studies involving users or usages of SNSs; only 5 studies involved randomized controlled trials. A large proportion (43/73, 59%) of the identified studies included populations considered hard to reach, such as young individuals, adolescents, and individuals at risk of sexually transmitted diseases or alcohol and substance abuse. Few articles (2/73, 3%) described using the multidirectional communication potential of SNSs to engage study populations. The number of publications about public health uses for SNSs has been steadily increasing in the past 5 years. With few exceptions, the literature largely consists of observational studies describing users and usages of SNSs regarding topics of public health interest. More studies that fully exploit the communication tools embedded in SNSs and study their potential to produce significant effects in the overall population's health are needed.
    Journal of Medical Internet Research 01/2014; 16(3):e79. · 3.77 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Major depression accounts for the greatest burden of all diseases globally. The peak onset of depression occurs between adolescence and young adulthood, and for many individuals, depression displays a relapse-remitting and increasingly severe course. Given this, the development of cost-effective, acceptable, and population-focused interventions for depression is critical. A number of online interventions (both prevention and acute phase) have been tested in young people with promising results. As these interventions differ in content, clinician input, and modality, it is important to identify key features (or unhelpful functions) associated with treatment outcomes.
    Journal of Medical Internet Research 01/2014; 16(9):e206. · 3.77 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
15 Downloads
Available from
Jul 11, 2014