THE IMPACT OF FICTIONAL TELEVISION STORIES ON U.S. ADULT FATALITIES: NEW EVIDENCE ON THE EFFECT OF THE MASS MEDIA ON VIOLENCE

This paper presents the first systematic evidence that violent, fictional television stories trigger imitative deaths and near-fatal accidents in the United States. In 1977, suicides, motor vehicle deaths, and nonfatal accidents all rose immediately following soap opera suicide stories. The U.S. female suicides increased proportionally more than male suicides. Single-vehicle crashes increased more than multiple-vehicle crashes. All of these increases are statistically significant and persist after one corrects for the presence of nonfictional suicide stories, linear trends, seasonal fluctuations, and day-of-the-week fluctuations in the data. These increases apparently occur because soap opera suicide stories trigger imitative suicides and suicide attempts, some of which are disguised as single-vehicle accidents.

  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Chicago Press

    1427 E. 60th Street
    Chicago, IL  United States  60637-2954
  • Authors:
    • Phillips, D P
  • Publication Date: 1982

Media Info

  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 1340
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00385600
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-035 879
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: May 30 1984 12:00AM