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The response in Twitter to an assisted suicide in a television soap opera

Scourfield, Jonathan Bryn ORCID:, Colombo, Gualtiero, Jacob, Nina Katherine, Evans, Rhiannon Emily ORCID:, Zhang, Mei, Burnap, Peter ORCID:, Edwards, Adam Michael ORCID:, Housley, William ORCID: and Williams, Matthew Leighton ORCID: 2016. The response in Twitter to an assisted suicide in a television soap opera. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 37 (5) , pp. 392-395. 10.1027/0227-5910/a000377

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Abstract. Background: Concern has been expressed about the potentially contagious effect of television soap opera suicides and suicidal language in social media. Aims: Twitter content was analyzed during the week in which a fictional assisted suicide was broadcast on a British television soap opera, "Coronation Street." Method: Tweets were collected if they contained language indicating possible suicidal intent or used the word suicide. The modified Thompson tau method was used to test for any differences in the volume of tweets in both categories on the day of screening. Content analysis broke down the use of the word suicide into six thematic categories. Results: There was no evidence on the day of screening of an increase in tweets expressing possible suicidal intent but there was an increase in tweets containing the word suicide. Content analysis found the most common thematic category to be information or support, followed by the raising of moral issues in relation to suicide. Conclusion: It is possible that for certain high-profile media events Twitter may be used more as a civic reactive forum than as a medium for introspection or disclosure of distress.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Computer Science & Informatics
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Uncontrolled Keywords: social media, Twitter, television, soap opera, suicide
Publisher: Hogrefe
ISSN: 0227-5910
Funders: Department of Health
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 8 October 2015
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2023 19:49

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