ESRI Discussion Paper Series No.317
Who is most affected by media reporting of suicide? -- Evidence from Japan.

Michiko Ueda
Research Assistant Professor, Syracuse University, and Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office


growing body of literature has shown that the number of suicide attempts tend to increase following media reports of suicide by prominent figures, including celebrities. However, relatively little is known about the characteristics of individuals who are most likely to be affected by media reporting of suicide, partly due to the scarcity of detailed information on the deceased. This paper analyzes data on suicide deaths collected by the National Policy Agency of Japan in order to understand the characteristics of the most vulnerable demographic groups. The data collected by the National Police Agency include age, sex, and occupation of the deceased, reasons/motives behind suicide (based on police investigation), and the presence of previous suicidal attempts by the deceased. The analysis uses daily counts of suicide in the period of 2009 to 2013. Included in the analysis were 30 prominent figures whose death by suicide was reported in the media.

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