Wirkungsaspekte literarischer Suiziddarstellungen Essay

Variant title
Thoughts on impacts of suicide stories
Author: Herberth, Arno
Source document: Brünner Beiträge zur Germanistik und Nordistik. 2018, vol. 32, iss. Supplementum, pp. 169-174
  • ISSN
    1803-7380 (print)
    2336-4408 (online)
License: Not specified license
Media influence on human behaviour is a fascinating public health topic. The impact of media reporting suicides on suicidal behaviour is of outmost importance and is documented by several studies in social sciences. This link between actual acts of suicide and literature seems to be a thing of the past. Nevertheless, analysing the plots of stories can contribute to a better understanding of effects a story might have on its audience. On the one hand, the construction of a plot can lead to immersion into a story world. In this case, copy-cat-behaviour could be enhanced under specific circumstances. On the other hand, the aesthetics of a plot can underpin the coincidence of depicted life events and thus avoid simple explanations. A plot-analysis that takes an alternative plot-development into account could also contribute to a suicide-preventive analysis of literature like the Papageno-Effect, an inverted Werther-Effect that implies less suicides after reporting the mastery of suicidal crisis. Literary works that do not present simple explanations for suicides may support a better understanding of suicides in real life and can contribute a destigmatized attitude towards suicidal behaviour.
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