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Abstract

In recent years, the question whether personal suicidality is reflected in individual music preferences has been discussed. We assessed associations of preferred music genres and cumulative exposure to and rating of 50 preselected songs, including 25 suicide-related songs, with suicide risk factors in an online survey with 943 participants. Preferences for sad music were associated with high psychoticism, while fanship of music genres with predominantly joyful contents was linked to low psychoticism. There was a dose-response relationship of positive rating of suicide songs with high life satisfaction and low hopelessness. Music preferences partly reflect suicide risk factors, but enjoyment of suicide songs is negatively associated with risk factors of suicide, which may indicate a psychological defense mechanism against suicidal impulses.

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... However, other studies could not replicate these patterns. For example, Till, Tran, Voracek, and Niederkrotenthaler (2016) verified that preference for intense music does not predict suicidal ideation, hopelessness, depression, and life satisfaction. Furthermore, longitudinal evidence did not support the predictive role of music preference on internalizing psychopathology (Miranda et al., 2012). ...
... Research highlighted that genres like rock, heavy metal, and punk can influence negatively the listener (Lozon & Bensimon, 2014), specifically their mental health. However, results in this field are still inconsistent (Miranda & Claes, 2009;Shafron & Karno, 2013;Till et al., 2016). Therefore, the present research aimed to further advance the understanding of whether music preference can directly or indirectly influence mental health. ...
... Another point that demand caution is the inconsistent literature in this area (Miranda & Claes, 2009;Shafron & Karno, 2013;Till et al., 2016). For instance, in a study with extreme metal music listeners, Sharman and Dingle (2015) found that when anger was induced to participants, they chose songs with angry and aggressive lyrics, leading them to experience and process the anger, causing an increase in positive affect . ...
Article
Previous studies explored the relations between preference for intense music (i.e., alternative, heavy metal, punk, and rock) and mental health. However, the results so far are inconclusive and do not assess if a preference for intense music directly or indirectly predicts mental health. To address this issue, the present research assessed the mediational role of positive and negative affect on the relation between preference for intense music and mental health. We hypothesized that preference for intense music predicts positive and negative affect, which, in turn, contribute to lower levels of mental health (i.e., stress, depression, and anxiety). Participants were 268 individuals (Mage = 26.6; SDage = 8.30; 63.4% women). Supporting our hypothesis, preference for intense music directly predicted positive and negative affect, and indirectly mental health. Most of these relations remained significant even after controlling for important confounding effects, such as age, gender, and neuroticism. Alternative models were examined, but the hypothesized model presented a better fit. Overall, our research indicates that intense music plays an important role in people’s affects and mental health.
... Despite this proposition, Lacourse et al. (2001) found no association between preferences for heavy metal music and suicidal behaviours in a cohort of high school students when controlling for common risk factors of suicide such as age, powerlessness, isolation, meaninglessness, and substance use. Furthermore, an online survey of over 900 adult participants revealed that suicidal ideation was not associated with liking of heavy metal music (Till et al., 2016). Similarly, a retrospective study of middle-aged adults who were heavy metal fans and/ or musicians in the 1980s revealed that while heavy metal fans and musicians had experienced a greater number of aversive childhood experiences and used more alcohol in early adulthood than did age-matched non-fans, the groups did not differ in suicide attempt rates (Howe et al., 2015). ...
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Concerns have been raised that prolonged exposure to heavy metal music with aggressive themes can increase the risk of aggression, anger, antisocial behaviour, substance use, suicidal ideation, anxiety and depression in community and psychiatric populations. Although research often relies on correlational evidence for which causal inferences are not possible, it is often claimed that music with aggressive themes can cause psychological and behavioural problems. This narrative review of theory and evidence suggests the issues are more complicated, and that fans typically derive a range of emotional and social benefits from listening to heavy metal music, including improved mood, identity formation, and peer affiliation. In contrast, non-fans of heavy metal music-who are often used as participants in experimental research on this topic-invariably report negative psychological experiences. Our review considers a comprehensive set of empirical findings that inform clinical strategies designed to identify fans for whom heavy metal music may confer psychological and behavioural risks, and those for whom this music may confer psychosocial benefits.
... Despite this proposition, Lacourse et al. (2001) found no association between preferences for heavy metal music and suicidal behaviours in a cohort of high school students when controlling for common risk factors of suicide such as age, powerlessness, isolation, meaninglessness, and substance use. Furthermore, an online survey of over 900 adult participants revealed that suicidal ideation was not associated with liking of heavy metal music (Till et al., 2016). Similarly, a retrospective study of middle-aged adults who were heavy metal fans and/ or musicians in the 1980s revealed that while heavy metal fans and musicians had experienced a greater number of aversive childhood experiences and used more alcohol in early adulthood than did age-matched non-fans, the groups did not differ in suicide attempt rates (Howe et al., 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Concerns have been raised that prolonged exposure to heavy metal music with aggressive themes can increase the risk of aggression, anger, antisocial behaviour, substance use, suicidal ideation, anxiety and depression in community and psychiatric populations. Although research often relies on correlational evidence for which causal inferences are not possible, it is often claimed that music with aggressive themes can cause psychological and behavioural problems. This narrative review of theory and evidence suggests the issues are more complicated, and that fans typically derive a range of emotional and social benefits from listening to heavy metal music, including improved mood, identity formation, and peer affiliation. In contrast, non-fans of heavy metal music — who are often used as participants in experimental research on this topic — invariably report negative psychological experiences. Our review considers a comprehensive set of empirical findings that inform clinical strategies designed to identify fans for whom heavy metal music may confer psychological and behavioural risks, and those for whom this music may confer psychosocial benefits.
... Despite this proposition, Lacourse et al. (2001) found no association between preferences for heavy metal music and suicidal behaviours in a cohort of high school students when controlling for common risk factors of suicide such as age, powerlessness, isolation, meaninglessness, and substance use. Furthermore, an online survey of over 900 adult participants revealed that suicidal ideation was not associated with liking of heavy metal music (Till et al., 2016). Similarly, a retrospective study of middle-aged adults who were heavy metal fans and/ or musicians in the 1980s revealed that while heavy metal fans and musicians had experienced a greater number of aversive childhood experiences and used more alcohol in early adulthood than did age-matched non-fans, the groups did not differ in suicide attempt rates (Howe et al., 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Concerns have been raised that prolonged exposed to heavy metal music with aggressive themes can increase the risk of aggression, anger, antisocial behaviour, substance use, suicidal ideation, anxiety and depression in community and psychiatric populations. Although research often relies on correlational evidence for which causal inferences are not possible, it is often claimed that music with aggressive themes can cause psychological and behavioural problems. This narrative review of theory and evidence suggests the issues are more complicated, and that fans typically derive a range of emotional and social benefits from listening to heavy metal music, including improved mood, identity formation, and peer affiliation. In contrast, non-fans of heavy metal music — who are often used as participants in experimental research on this topic — invariably report negative psychological experiences. Our review considers a comprehensive set of empirical findings that inform clinical strategies designed to identify fans for whom heavy metal music may confer psychological and behavioural risks, and those for whom this music may confer psychosocial benefits.
... Thus, it showed divergence with the study by Langmeyer et al. (2012), but it was in agreement with Fricke and Herzberg (2017). Linking the results, we found and the features characterizing the opposite end to Emotional Stability, i.e., Neuroticism, it can be suggested that more neurotic individuals tend to prefer music often appearing in the literature as frequently associated with anti-social behaviors, e.g., alcohol and use of illicit drugs, violence, suicide and other (Lester and Whipple, 1996;Pimentel et al., 2009;Till et al., 2016). Secondly, positive correlations were found with more sociable music styles (e.g., Latin Dance Music), emphasizing positive emotions (e.g., Brazilian Music) that might be related to the fact that individuals more emotionally stable tend to be more friends one to another. ...
... Thus, it showed divergence with the study by Langmeyer et al. (2012), but it was in agreement with Fricke and Herzberg (2017). Linking the results, we found and the features characterizing the opposite end to Emotional Stability, i.e., Neuroticism, it can be suggested that more neurotic individuals tend to prefer music often appearing in the literature as frequently associated with anti-social behaviors, e.g., alcohol and use of illicit drugs, violence, suicide and other (Lester and Whipple, 1996;Pimentel et al., 2009;Till et al., 2016). Secondly, positive correlations were found with more sociable music styles (e.g., Latin Dance Music), emphasizing positive emotions (e.g., Brazilian Music) that might be related to the fact that individuals more emotionally stable tend to be more friends one to another. ...
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This article analyzes the relationship between musical preference and type of personality in a large group of Brazilian young and adult participants (N = 1050). The study included 25 of 27 states of Brazil and individuals aged between 16 and 71 years (M=30.87; SD=10.50). Of these, 500 were male (47.6%) and 550 were female (52.4%). A correlational study was carried out applying two online questionnaires with quality parameters (content-construct validity and reliability), one on musical preference and the other on personality. The results indicate three main findings: 1) the musical listening of the participants is limited to a reduced number of styles, mainly pop music and others, typical of Brazilian culture; 2) the Brazilian context supposes a determining aspect in the low preference of non-Brazilian music; 3) there is a positive correlation between most personality types analyzed and the Latin, Brazilian, classical and ethnic musical styles. A negative correlation between these types of personality and the consumption of rock music was also observed. Likewise, this work shows how participants make use of music in personality aspects that may be of interest for the analysis of socio-affective behavior (personality). More cross-cultural research on musical preference and personality would need to be carried out from a global perspective, framed in the context of social psychology and studies of mass communication.
Preprint
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Music not only serves as an important source in regulating moods but also transcendsitself in impacting the happiness of individuals. However, it is not well documented that exploreswhat specific music genre(s) are preferred in countries, whether specific preferences affecthappiness, and if moderators such as Suicide, Homicide, Substance abuse and Alcohol abuseinteract with genres to determine happiness. To examine this, data were collected fromsecondary sources from Our World in Data repository and World Happiness Report and Googletrends. It was found that the preference for music genres did not contribute to the happiness ofany country. However, music genres such as Rap & RnB predicted Homicide, and EDM wasassociated with Substance abuse. At the same time, genres did not qualify significantly forexplaining the variance observed in other moderating variables such as Suicide, Alcohol abuseand Homicide. Regression analysis revealed that happiness increased with lesser Homicide ratesand higher Substance abuse
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While literature exists supporting the use of music for health promotion, scholars have also noted the potential for music-induced harm and other maladaptive effects of music. Harm is a multifaceted construct that can include affective, behavioral, cognitive, identity, interpersonal, physical, and spiritual aspects. As music also represents a multifaceted experience, the relationship between music and harm is complex and can include numerous contextual-, deliverer-, music-, and recipient-based factors. Music-induced harm (MIH) also needs to be clearly defined to understand and protect against it. Therefore, the purpose of this article was to explore the numerous factors influencing how music can result in harm and develop a theoretical model that could be used to inform safe music practices. Drawing from existing models of emotional responses to music, music intervention reporting guidelines, therapeutic functions of music, and holistic wellness, we explored how the interplay between the deliverer, music, and recipient can result in various types of MIH in diverse contexts. We then developed the MIH model to integrate these factors and connect the model with the existing literature. The MIH model highlights the relevance of academic and clinical training, credentialing, occupational regulation, continuing education, and professional organizations that provide accredited curricular oversight to protect people from MIH. Implications for clinical application, limitations, and suggestions for future research are provided.
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Concerns about whether fictional media can have a contagion effect on youth viewers have been debated for several decades. In the 1980s these led to several lawsuits featuring heavy metal acts as defendants. More recently, concerns have been renewed following the popular television show 13 Reasons Why which depicts an adolescent girl’s suicide. The current study examines these concerns in a survey study of 174 youth and their caregivers. Results indicated that, contrary to concerns, viewing suicide themed fictional shows was associated with reduced depressive symptomology and was not associated with suicidal ideation specifically. Depression and suicidal ideation were most associated with experiencing with others’ suicides in real life, family environment, bullying and neurotic personality traits. The show 13 Reasons Why specifically was associated with either lower depression or suicidal ideation or null effects, depending on specific outcome. Although correlational, this evidence suggests that suicide prevention efforts should focus less on fictional media and more on prevention of bullying.
Article
Background For decades, policymakers and suicide prevention advocates have questioned whether exposure to media with suicide themes, whether television, movies, or music, could increase suicide risk among youth. To date, no clear picture has emerged, with data inconsistent Aims To access whether current evidence can support concerns that fictional media increases risk of viewer suicidal ideation. Materials & Methods Two broad forms of data consider the issue, namely society‐level aggregate data, and data from smaller correlational and experimental studies. The current article examined the evidence for suicide contagion by fictional media with a methodological and meta‐analytic review. Results Results suggest that current data do not support the theory that suicide contagion by fictional media occurs. Discussion In addition to lack of consistency in current research results, widespread methodological concerns limit confidence in conclusions from many studies. A commitment to better methods and open science is warranted. Conclusion It is recommended that individuals exercise caution in public statements linking suicide‐themed fictional media to suicide contagion as data may not be able to support such claims.
Article
Background: For several decades, the question of whether personal suicidality is reflected in individual music preferences has been the subject of debate in suicide research. Despite many studies investigating the relationship between music use and suicidal behavior, it is still unclear whether suicide risk is reflected in individual music preferences. Aims: The present study aimed to assess whether music preferences are reflected in suicide risk factors. Method: We assessed suicidal ideation, depression, and hopelessness among 943 participants in a cross-sectional online survey. Participants provided up to five examples of their favorite music. We conducted a content analysis and coded all reported songs as suicide-related, coping-related, or unrelated to suicide. Results: Multivariate analyses controlling for gender, age, education level, and amount of daily music use indicated associations of preferences for suicide-related songs with suicidal ideation and depression. Limitations: Limitations of the present study include the use of a convenience sample and a cross-sectional design, the small number of participants with preferences for coping-related songs, and the relatively small effect size of the associations found. Conclusion: Music preferences appear to reflect suicide risk factors, with individuals who prefer suicide-related songs scoring higher in terms of suicidal ideation and depression.
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The effect of art on suicide risk has been a neglected topic in suicidology. The present article focuses on what is probably the best known song concerning suicide, Gloomy Sunday, the "Hungarian suicide song." An analysis of historical sources suggests that the song was believed to trigger suicides. It was, for example, banned by the BBC in England until 2002. The alleged increase in suicides in the 1930s associated with the playing of the song may be attributed to audience mood, especially the presence of a large number of depressed persons as a result of the Great Depression. The influence of music on suicide may be contingent on societal, social, and individual conditions, such as economic recessions, membership in musical subcultures, and psychiatric disturbance. Further research is needed on art forms, such as feature films, paintings, novels, and music that portray suicides in order to identify the conditions under which the triggering of suicides occurs.
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This article assesses the link between country music and metropolitan suicide rates. Country music is hypothesized to nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work. The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate. The effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun availability. The existence of a country music subculture is thought to reinforce the link between country music and suicide. Our model explains 51% of the variance in urban white suicide rates.
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Research on the impact of exposure to suicide movies on suicidality has been marked by three limitations. It is largely based on (1) aggregate data subject to the ecological fallacy, (2) exposure to a single movie, and (3) relative lack of controls for psychological states & social factors linked to suicide. The present study addresses these gaps. It follows a modified Beach method and assesses the impact of cumulative, voluntary exposure to suicide movies on suicide attempts. Subjects are 260 undergraduates at a mid- western university. The dependent variable is a previous suicide attempt. Cumulative exposure to suicide movies is based on self reports. Controls include religiosity, depression, burdensomeness, and demographics. A multivariate logistic regression analysis determined that controlling for other predictors, for each additional movie exposure the risk of attempted suicide increased by 47.6%. This is the first investigation to demonstrate a link between cumulative, voluntary exposure to suicide movies on suicide attempts.
Book
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The book presents the first ever systematic analysis of the portrayal of suicide in the cinema over 110 years. It is based on a thorough analysis of 1,377 suicides in American and 135 in British films. The focus is on 7 broad categories of suicide motives. There is a chapter devoted to each. Individual centered motives are, with the percentage of films representing each): Traditional psychiatric such as depression & substance abuse (21.4%), the suicide as a sociopath (18.4%), and physicality (such as illness, pain, handicap,(6.9%). Environmental motives are: death of a loved one (7.6%), relationship strain (52.6%), economic strain such as unemployment (16.2%), and altruism or suicide for the benefit of others (18.7%). Within each chapter five hypotheses are tested (1) artistic construction hypothesis that films misrepresent the realities of suicide, using recent data on 30,000 suicides in the National Violent Death Reporting System as a benchmark for reality (2).Gendered hypothesis that motives for suicide are gendered (e.g., with males more apt to die due to economic failure and women more apt to suicide due to relationship strain), (3).Continuity vs. change hypothesis that recent films will move towards individual-centered motives (4) Literary roots hypothesis that the motives in film reflect 2,000 years of suicide portrayals in popular literature from Greek tragedies, Shakespeare's plays and the modern novel, (5).the globalization hypothesis that given trends towards globalism in society as well as the cinema, films from other nations will portray suicide motives in a way similar to that of American films. The findings suggest mixed support for the artistic construction hypothesis: films under-represent traditional psychiatric motives while film representations accurately reflect the incidence of most motives such as intimate partner problems: 25.1% of suicides in film vs. 27.0% in society. (2) Six of the 7 motives for suicide are gendered with, for example economic strain playing a role in 20.3% of cinematic male suicides vs. only 8.1% of female cinematic suicides (3). there is continuity in 4/7 motives over time with some changes including traditional psychiatric motives doubling from 12% of pre 1950 films to 29% of post 1950 films (4). Film motives largely reflect those found in classic literature, but the latter places more emphasis on death as a motive for suicide 23.1% vs. 18.7%), (5). Evidence from 135 suicides in British film shows that the percentage of suicides attributed to each of the 7 motives is quite similar to the percentage in American films. The globalization hypothesis is largely confirmed. However, British film stresses death of a loved more, and altruism less than U.S. films. Given that watching movies is the leading American leisure time pursuit, film has been shown to impact a variety of attitudes and behaviors through social learning mechanisms. Film suggests that suicide can be best prevented by an improvement in social relationships, not so much individual drug/talk therapies (which are often presented as not helping). The books suggests that suicide prevention policies following the common "90% rule" that mental disorders cause suicide, may not capture the social antecedents of mental disorders as well as the social strains that often precipitate real suicides. Film, like literature, provides an artistic challenge to the 90% rule and suggests that suicide professionals incorporate more of the realm of the social in their understanding of suicide.
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This study investigated the impact of film dramas on the emotional and cognitive state of recipients, as well as mediating effects of different modes of film reception. Furthermore, associations between the modes of reception and individual favored coping strategies were examined. One hundred fifty nondepressive and nonsuicidal adults living in Austria watched one of three films featuring the death of the main character. Data on the viewers’ mood, inner tensions, self-esteem, life satisfaction, depression, suicidal tendencies, attitudes toward suicide, predominantly used modes of reception, and preferred coping strategies were collected with questionnaires that were handed out before and after seeing the movie. Results indicated that drama viewing was linked to both negative and positive effects: on the one hand, to a deterioration of mood as well as an increase of inner tensions and depression scores, and on the other hand, to a rise in self-esteem and life satisfaction as well as a drop in suicidal tendencies. The more a subject was involved in the film, the more pronounced were the negative impacts and the smaller were the positive reactions. The viewers’ preferred coping strategies were partly associated with the modes of reception: the more an individual preferred to seek social support when facing a problem, the more he or she identified with the drama’s protagonist and tried to find behavior patterns in the movie to improve his or her own life.
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OBJECTIVE: Taking into account that several international studies suggest a correlation between music preference, especially for heavy metal, and suicide, this study aimed at to know the association of music preference with potential indicators of suicide risk. METHODS: Participants were two hundred undergraduate students from a public University in João Pessoa city (Brazil). They were 22 years old (SD = 4.77). They answered the Shorted Test of Music Preference, which measures the music preference with respect to fourteen music genres, and the Reasons for Living Inventory (RFL), which intents to know the reasons for living reported by people. RESULTS: Results indicated the total score of the RFL correlated itself with the preference for the music genres named as conventional (positive) and alternative (negative). Moreover, the preference for conventional genre was a predictor of lower suicide risk among youths. CONCLUSIONS: This research demonstrates the importance of one more variable, in the present work the music preference, to understand the suicidal risk between young persons. However, other studies must be carried out in the Brazilian context so that it is possible to understand better this relation.
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The authors examined the impact of homicidal, suicidal, and nonviolent heavy metal and rap songs on the moods of male undergraducates under the guise of administering a memory for lyrics test. Subjects heard one of six songs and completed a memory task. Subjects completed several mood inventories as part of a “second study.” There were no effects of song content or music type on suicidal ideation, anxiety, or self-esteem. The nonviolent rap song elicited higher Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores than the violent rap songs. And, rap songs elicited significantly more angry responses than heavy metal songs.
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In their article assessing the link between country music airtime and metropolitan suicide rates, Stack and Gundlach (1992) found that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate. Employing ordinary least squares regression, they controlled for the effects of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun availability. Their model accounts for 51% of the variance in urban white suicide rates. The authors interpret their findings as evidence that country music may “nurture a suicidal mood” (215), though they acknowledge that their model does not explain black suicide rates. In an attempt to replicate their suicide model for whites, we used the same data and methods. Our results indicate that country music — both bivariately and multivariately — has a negative, though insignificant effect on white urban suicide rates.
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This article provides the first quantitative review of the literature on music and suicidality. Multivariate logistic regression techniques are applied to 90 findings from 21 studies. Investigations employing ecological data on suicide completions are 19.2 times more apt than other studies to report a link between music and suicide. More recent and studies with large samples are also more apt than their counterparts to report significant results. Further, none of the studies based on experimental research designs found a link between music and suicide ideation, prompting us to do a brief content analysis of 24 suicide songs versus 24 nonsuicide songs from the same album. Using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software, we found no difference in the content of the suicide songs and controls, including the percentage of sad words, negative affect, and mentions of death, thus providing an explanation for nonfindings from experimental research. In summary, ecologically based (which capture at-risk persons not in typical school-based samples) and more recent investigations (which have used superior or new methodologies) tend to demonstrate a linkage between music and suicidality. Experimental research is needed with a control group of songs from an alternative genre with low suicidogenic content.
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In a sample of students, preference for country and western music was not associated with depression or suicidal preoccupation as has been suggested by Stack and Gundlach. However, preference for heavy metal music was associated with prior suicidal ideation. Stronger associations were found between music preferences and measures of psychoticism and extraversion.
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This study probes the differentiating characteristics (family relationships, social–psychological attitudes, drug use, and suicidal risk) of youth who prefer heavy metal (HM) music, worship music, and use music for vicarious release. Data analysis was based on a sample of 275 secondary school students between the ages of 14 and 18. Logistic regressions revealed that HM music preference and worshipping is not significantly related to suicidal risk when controlling for other risk factors. These findings were found for both boys and girls. Surprisingly, the use of music for vicarious release was inversely related to suicidal risk for girls. These findings are discussed within the framework of Arnett's alienation theory (Arnett, J. (1991). J. Youth Adolesc. 20(6): 573–592) and Roe's uses-gratification theory (Roe, K. (1995). J. Youth Adolesc. 24(5): 617–631) regarding adolescent socialization and media purposes.
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The suicide rates of 18 European nations were associated with the proportion of sad words in the lyrics of their national anthems as well as the gloominess of the music. It is suggested that a possible suicide prevention tactic might involve changing the music and lyrics of national anthems.
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In a sample of 18 European nations, suicide rates were positively associated with the proportion of low notes in the national anthems and, albeit less strongly, with students' ratings of how gloomy and how sad the anthems sounded, supporting a hypothesis proposed by Rihmer.
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Media reporting of suicide has repeatedly been shown to trigger suicidal behaviour. Few studies have investigated the associations between specific media content and suicide rates. Even less is known about the possible preventive effects of suicide-related media content. To test the hypotheses that certain media content is associated with an increase in suicide, suggesting a so-called Werther effect, and that other content is associated with a decrease in suicide, conceptualised as a Papageno effect. Further, to identify classes of media articles with similar reporting profiles and to test for associations between these classes and suicide. Content analysis and latent class analysis (LCA) of 497 suicide-related print media reports published in Austria between 1 January and 30 June 2005. Ecological study to identify associations between media item content and short-term changes in suicide rates. Repetitive reporting of the same suicide and the reporting of suicide myths were positively associated with suicide rates. Coverage of individual suicidal ideation not accompanied by suicidal behaviour was negatively associated with suicide rates. The LCA yielded four classes of media reports, of which the mastery of crisis class (articles on individuals who adopted coping strategies other than suicidal behaviour in adverse circumstances) was negatively associated with suicide, whereas the expert opinion class and the epidemiological facts class were positively associated with suicide. The impact of suicide reporting may not be restricted to harmful effects; rather, coverage of positive coping in adverse circumstances, as covered in media items about suicidal ideation, may have protective effects.
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Depression and suicide present a serious health problem especially for teenagers as they are increasingly diagnosed with mood disorders of different severity, possibly leading to suicidal activity. Reported here is a misfortunate young girl who committed suicide by jumping from high altitude. She left a suicide note which, together with her behavior in the death-preceding period, pointed to her apparently belonging to an Emo subculture. Although few and scarce, most existing articles and reports on Emo subculture found that its members like to focus on negative things, dark premonitions and deprivation of enjoyment, like self harm and suicide but no scientific information are available about the characteristics, trends and possible suicidal tendencies of children and adolescents who belong to this subgroup. It is for the future researches to answer whether this type of behavior and music preference are causal factors for increased suicidal vulnerability, or personal characteristics and anamnesis, upbringing and mental health status are actual sources of the problem.
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Although numerous authors have associated metal music with social problems such as suicide, self-destruction and Satanism, few studies have been undertaken to examine the mental health of fans of heavy metal music. This study attempts to determine if there is a link between mental health and the enjoyment of this type of music in France. The researchers surveyed 333 fans of metal music. Their mental health was evaluated by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), a widely used instrument that measures anxiety and depression. The scores of the sample of metal music fans were then compared to the scores that reveal possible, probable, or severe mental disorders. Qualifying variables included age, gender, status, education, motivation and participation in metal music culture. The results indicated that fans of metal music are mainly young adults (median age = 22.67, SD = 5.29) and tend to be male (87.85 percent). As a whole, metal music fans have levels of anxiety and depression that are similar to and lower than levels in the general population. Specifically, <5 percent of metal music fans surveyed showed pathological symptoms. Subjects that scored higher levels of anxiety and depression were those that had literary and/or arts backgrounds rather than scientific backgrounds, that wrote metal music lyrics, that consumed alcohol and that engaged in the body modification practice of scarification. This study suggests that opponents of metal music should re-examine the basis for their criticism. More scholarly research is needed to better understand the effects of metal music on fans and on society.
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A prospective study of 1,958 outpatients found that hopelessness, as measured by the Beck Hopelessness Scale, was significantly related to eventual suicide. A scale cutoff score of 9 or above identified 16 (94.2%) of the 17 patients who eventually committed suicide, thus replicating a previous study with hospitalized patients. The high-risk group identified by this cutoff score was 11 times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the outpatients. The Beck Hopelessness Scale thus may be used as a sensitive indicator of suicide potential.
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To test the hypothesis that greater exposure to smoking in films is associated with trying smoking among adolescents. Cross sectional survey of 4919 schoolchildren aged 9-15 years, and assessment of occurrence of smoking in 601 films. Randomly selected middle schools in Vermont and New Hampshire, USA. Number of schoolchildren who had ever tried smoking a cigarette. The films contained a median of 5 (interquartile range 1-12) occurrences of smoking. The typical adolescent had seen 17 of 50 films listed. Exposure to smoking in films varied widely: median 91 (49-152) occurrences. The prevalence of ever trying smoking increased with higher categories of exposure: 4.9% among students who saw 0-50 occurrences of smoking, 13.7% for 51-100 occurrences, 22.1% for 101-150, and 31.3% for >150. The association remained significant after adjustment for age; sex; school performance; school; parents' education; smoking by friend, sibling, or parent; and receptivity to tobacco promotions. The adjusted odds ratios of ever trying smoking for students in the higher categories of exposure, compared with students exposed to 0-50 occurrences of smoking in films, were 1.7 (95% confidence interval 1.2 to 2.4), 2.4 (1.7 to 3.4), and 2.7 (2.0 to 3.8). These odds ratios were not substantially affected by adjustment for parenting style or for personality traits of the adolescent. In this sample of adolescents there was a strong, direct, and independent association between seeing tobacco use in films and trying cigarettes, a finding that supports the hypothesis that smoking in films has a role in the initiation of smoking in adolescents.
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The effects of suicide films on recipients' emotional and mental state, as well as the influence of censorship, was studied. Nonsuicidal subjects watched the original or a censored version of a suicide film or a drama without suicide. Data were collected by questionnaires. The viewing led to a deterioration of mood and an increase in inner tension and depression scores, but also to a rise in self-esteem and life satisfaction and to a drop in suicidality. There were no relevant differences between the film groups. The more a subject identified with the protagonist, the greater were the negative effects.
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People spend considerable amounts of time and money listening to music, watching TV and movies, and reading books and magazines, yet almost no attention in psychology has been devoted to understanding individual differences in preferences for such entertainment. The present research was designed to examine the structure and correlates of entertainment genre preferences. Analyses of the genre preferences of more than 3,000 individuals revealed a remarkably clear factor structure. Using multiple samples, methods, and geographic regions, data converged to reveal five entertainment-preference dimensions: Communal, Aesthetic, Dark, Thrilling, and Cerebral. Preferences for these entertainment dimensions were uniquely related to demographics and personality traits. Results also indicated that personality accounted for significant proportions of variance in entertainment preferences over and above demographics. The results provide a foundation for developing and testing hypotheses about the psychology of entertainment preferences.
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This study aimed to investigate whether the risk of increased suicide occurrence after reports on suicide is associated with the social characteristics of the reported suicides and whether this varies with similarity between the reported suicides and suicides in the population. We collected reports on all 179 individual suicides named in the 13 largest Austrian nationwide newspapers from 1996 to 2006. Information on social status and sociodemographic characteristics of the reported suicides, on certainty of labelling the death as a suicide, and on the suicide methods applied were extracted from the articles. We conducted logistic regression analyses, with the increase of post-report suicides within 28 days after the reports as dependent variable. In model 1, the increase of suicides that matched the reported individual suicide with regard to age group, sex and suicide method was used as outcome variable. In model 2, the increase of suicides that were different from the reported suicide with regard to these characteristics was the outcome. In model 3, the post-report increase of total suicides was the dependent variable. Celebrity status of the reported suicide, age of the reported suicide between 30 and 64 years, and definitive labelling as a suicide were associated with an increased risk of a post-report increase of similar suicides; criminality (i.e. the individual was reported as suspected or convicted of crime) of the reported suicide was associated with a lower risk of a post-report increase. In dissimilar suicides, none of the variables was associated with a post-report increase of suicides. Celebrity status of the reported suicide was the only predictor of a post-report increase of total suicides. The findings support the hypothesis that social variables of reported suicides impact the risk of post-report copycat behaviour. Evidence of copycat effects seemed to be strongest in suicides that were similar to the respective model with regard to age group, sex, and suicide method.
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The effect of suggestion on suicide is well established. However, the intrapsychic mechanisms of the contagion of suicides are poorly understood. In this article I first present the literature about suicide clustering and about projective identification. In the following clinical vignette I try to understand a patient's suicidal behaviour, referring to William Goldstein's clarifying model of projective identification. I aim to illustrate that his model has heuristic value in the treatment of suicidal patients when the effect of suggestion or identification is suspected.
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Synopsis In this study it was possible to prove the Werther effect in suicides after watching fictional models for the first time. A twice-broadcast (1981, 1982) six-episode weekly serial showing the railway suicide of a 19-year-old male student provided a quasi-experimental ABABA design to investigate differential effects of suicide imitation. Imitation effects were most clearly observable in the groups whose age and sex were closest to those of the model. Over extended periods (up to 70 days after the first episode), the number of railway suicides increased most sharply among 15- to 19-year-old males (up to 175%); the effect steadily decreased in the older age groups, so that no effect was observable for males over 40 years and females over 30 years. Also, the imitation effects remained detectable for longer periods in the groups closest in age to the model. The increases observed after the first and second broadcast for males aged > 30 years closely corresponded with the respective audience figures for the two showings.
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We examined the relation between 38 nationally televised news or feature stories about suicide from 1973 to 1979 and the fluctuation of the rate of suicide among American teenagers before and after these stories. The observed number of suicides by teenagers from zero to seven days after these broadcasts (1666) was significantly greater than the number expected (1555; P = 0.008). The more networks that carried a story about suicide, the greater was the increase in suicides thereafter (P = 0.0004). These findings persisted after correction for the effects of the day of the week, the month, holidays, and yearly trends. Teenage suicides increased more than adult suicides after stories about suicide (6.87 vs. 0.45 percent). Suicides increased as much after general-information or feature stories about suicide as after news stories about a particular suicide. Six alternative explanations of these findings were assessed, including the possibility that the results were due to misclassification or were statistical artifacts. We conclude that the best available explanation is that television stories about suicide trigger additional suicides, perhaps because of imitation.
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This paper presents the first systematic evidence that violent, fictional television stories trigger imitative deaths and near-fatal accidents in the United States. In 1977, suicides, motor vehicle deaths, and nonfatal accidents all rose immediately following soap opera suicide stories. The U.S. female suicides increased proportionally more than male suicides. Single-vehicle crashes increased more than multiple-vehicle crashes. All of these increases are statistically significant and persist after one corrects for the presence of nonfictional suicide stories, linear trends, seasonal fluctuations, and day-of-the-week fluctuations in the data. These increases apparently occur because soap opera suicide stories trigger imitative suicides and suicide attempts, some of which are disguised as single-vehicle accidents.
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The impact of the heavy metal music subculture on suicide has been the subject of much public debate but little scholarly research. The present paper assesses this relationship with data on heavy metal magazine subscriptions and youth suicide in the 50 states. We find that, controlling for other predictors of suicide, the greater the strength of the metal subculture, the higher the youth suicide rate. The music perhaps nurtures suicidal tendencies already present in the subculture. The model explains 51% of the variance in youth suicide.
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This preliminary study investigated possible relationships between adolescents' music preference and aspects of their psychological health and lifestyle. Students (mean age 14.76 years) from two randomly chosen high schools completed self-report questionnaires on preferred music types and messages in the music. In addition the Youth Self-Report provided information about suicide ideation, deliberate self-harm, "depression," and "delinquency." Brief risk taking and drug taking scales were administered in addition to questions about family environment. A marked gender bias was shown to exist with 74% of girls preferring pop music compared with 70.7% of boys preferring rock/metal. Significant associations appear to exist between a preference for rock/metal and suicidal thoughts, acts of deliberate self-harm, "depression," "delinquency," drug taking, and family dysfunction. This was all particularly true for girls. In addition, feeling sadder after listening to the preferred music appeared to distinguish the most disturbed group. The authors recommend that further academic study of these associations is warranted. Both preference for rock/metal music, particularly in girls, and feeling worse after listening to the music may be indicators in adolescents of vulnerability to suicidal thoughts and actions.
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The association between the portrayal of suicide in fictional media and actual suicide has been debated since 1774, when it was asserted that Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther had led people to take their own lives. Since that time, a plethora of studies considering the association has been conducted. This review considered 34 studies examining the impact of fictional portrayal of suicide (in film and television, music, and plays) on actual suicidal behavior. It asked the question: "Is there any association, and if so, can it be considered causal?" Using strict criteria to establish causality, we found that the evidence was more equivocal than was the case for nonfictional reporting.
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Numerous studies have considered the association between media reporting and portrayal of suicide and actual suicidal behavior or ideation. This review considered 42 studies that have examined the nonfiction media (newspapers, television, and books). Consideration was given to the extent to which inferences could be made about the relationship between portrayal of suicide in the given media and actual suicidal behavior in terms of: the strength of its association; and the extent to which it could be considered causal. The review demonstrated that there is an association between nonfictional media portrayal of suicide and actual suicide. The association satisfies sufficient of the criteria of consistency, strength, temporality, specificity and coherence for it to be deemed causal.
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Exposure to smoking in movies has been linked with adolescent smoking initiation in cross-sectional studies. We undertook a prospective study to ascertain whether exposure to smoking in movies predicts smoking initiation. We assessed exposure to smoking shown in movies in 3547 adolescents, aged 10-14 years, who reported in a baseline survey that they had never tried smoking. Exposure to smoking in movies was estimated for individual respondents on the basis of the number of smoking occurrences viewed in unique samples of 50 movies, which were randomly selected from a larger sample pool of popular contemporary movies. We successfully re-contacted 2603 (73%) students 13-26 months later for a follow-up interview to determine whether they had initiated smoking. Overall, 10% (n=259) of students initiated smoking during the follow-up period. In the highest quartile of exposure to movie smoking, 17% (107) of students had initiated smoking, compared with only 3% (22) in the lowest quartile. After controlling for baseline characteristics, adolescents in the highest quartile of exposure to movie smoking were 2.71 (95% CI 1.73-4.25) times more likely to initiate smoking compared with those in the lowest quartile. The effect of exposure to movie smoking was stronger in adolescents with non-smoking parents than in those whose parent smoked. In this cohort, 52.2% (30.0-67.3) of smoking initiation can be attributed to exposure to smoking in movies. Our results provide strong evidence that viewing smoking in movies promotes smoking initiation among adolescents.