Motives to commit suicide: Statistical versus mass-mediated reality?

Gideon Fishma, Gabriel Weimann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study, conducted in Israel, compares suicide motives as reported in the press with the official statistics. The analysis is based on two sets of data: the first includes all suicides (n = 4164) recorded from 1972-1988 by Israel's Ministry of Health, and the other contains all press reports n = 1885) relating to suicide over the same period in Israel's two daily newspapers. The news reports were subjected to systematic content analysis. The analysis indicates that press reports over-emphasize certain types of suicide while underplaying others. The effects of independent variables (age, gender, marital status and nationality) on the ascription of motives were different for the press and for the official statistics. Our findings show that the attribution of motives to suicides is socially reconstructed by the press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-212
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1997


  • Mass-mediated reports
  • Motives
  • Official statistics
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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