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TV-suicide link: fatal retraction.

TV-suicide link: Fatal retraction

Last year, researchers reported that teenage suicides rose significantly in New York City in the two weeks after three recent made-for-television movies about suicide aired (SN: 9/20/86, p. 182). Researchers at the University of California at San Diego now find, however, that teenage suicide rates in California and Pennsylvania actually declined in the two weeks following the same movies.

"We conclude that it is premature to be concerned about possibly fatal effects of fictional televised films about suicide,' write David P. Phillips and Daniel J. Paight in the Sept. 24 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE.

Overall, there were 33 teenage suicides before and 19 suicides after the television movies in California, and 20 suicides before and 13 suicides after the movies in Pennsylvania. This contrasts with 3 suicides before and 13 suicides after the presentations in New York City. But the researchers add that other studies show a significant increase in teen and adult suicides just after television and newspaper reports of actual suicides, especially if the reports are repeated on different days and run by several media sources.
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Title Annotation:conflicting findings about teen suicide links to TV movies about suicide
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 3, 1987
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