Can TV Show Content Affect Public Health? One Study Finds Correlation

August 21, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Google search trends for suicide-related content were 19% higher after the debut of 13 Reasons Why, a controversial Netflix TV show about the suicide of a fictional teen, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers compared search trends for the term “suicide"—excluding ambiguous terms or terms related to popular culture—for 19 days after the show's release to the same search trends during a period before the show. For example, search queries with the phrase “how to commit suicide" rose 26% and search queries for suicide hotline phone numbers rose 21% after its release.

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