A second study has found ‘13 Reasons Why’ as the reason behind increasing youth suicides in the US around the time the show premiered.
The new study, published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, found that in the three months after the show’s launch, the youth suicide rate for ages 10-19 rose unexpectedly by 13% between April and June of 2017, with a higher proportion among females.
It drew on the same data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as another paper with similar findings published a month ago in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Looking back at historical trends dating back to 1999, 94 more American adolescents and teens died by suicide during the three-month period than expected.
Researches used the same methodology as those who conducted last month’s study but analysed 10-19-year-olds, whereas last month’s looked at 10-17-year-olds.
This study also found an increase in suicide in both male and females where the previous study observed that increase in boys only.
“But both studies essentially have the same main finding—a clear increase of suicides among adolescents after the release of the series [at the] end of March 2017,” said Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, lead author of the JAMA Psychiatry study and an associate professor at the Medical University of Vienna.
The show was wildly popular on Twitter and Instagram, so they used social media data as a proxy for understanding peak interest in the show.
Researchers suggest that the portrayal of suicide in the show created a “contagion effect,” which can happen when media coverage of suicide leads to suicide clusters.
While researches could not determine whether those who committed suicide watched the series, an editorial written by researchers at Harvard and Stanford claim the study shows “strong evidence” that 13 Reasons Why led to the increase.
“13 Reasons Why has been enormously popular and successful,” Hastings said during the Netflix annual shareholder meeting, reports Deadline. “It’s engaging content.”
“It is controversial,” the CEO continued. “But nobody has to watch it.”
13 Reasons Why Season 3 is set to premiere in 2019.