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Attitudes towards suicide attempts broadcast on social media: an exploratory study of Chinese microblogs.


ABSTRACT: Introduction. Broadcasting a suicide attempt on social media has become a public health concern in many countries, particularly in China. In these cases, social media users are likely to be the first to witness the suicide attempt, and their attitudes may determine their likelihood of joining rescue efforts. This paper examines Chinese social media (Weibo) users' attitudes towards suicide attempts broadcast on Weibo. Methods. A total of 4,969 Weibo posts were selected from a customised Weibo User Pool which consisted of 1.06 million active users. The selected posts were then independently coded by two researchers using a coding framework that assessed: (a) Themes, (b) General attitudes, (c) Stigmatising attitudes, (d) Perceived motivations, and (e) Desired responses. Results and Discussion. More than one third of Weibo posts were coded as "stigmatising" (35%). Among these, 22%, 16%, and 15% of posts were coded as "deceitful," "pathetic," and "stupid," respectively. Among the posts which reflected different types of perceived motivations, 57% of posts were coded as "seeking attention." Among the posts which reflected desired responses, 37% were "not saving" and 28% were "encouraging suicide." Furthermore, among the posts with negative desired responses (i.e., "not saving" and "encouraging suicide"), 57% and 17% of them were related to different types of stigmatising attitudes and perceived motivations, respectively. Specifically, 29% and 26% of posts reflecting both stigmatising attitudes and negative desired responses were coded as "deceitful" and "pathetic," respectively, while 66% of posts reflecting both perceived motivations, and negative desired responses were coded as "seeking attention." Very few posts "promoted literacy" (2%) or "provided resources" (8%). Gender differences existed in multiple categories. Conclusions. This paper confirms the need for stigma reduction campaigns for Chinese social media users to improve their attitudes towards those who broadcast their suicide attempts on social media. Results of this study support the need for improved public health programs in China and may be insightful for other countries and other social media platforms.

SUBMITTER: Li A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4570843 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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