The new study was correlational, meaning that the authors could determine whether the show actually influenced the suicide of any viewer. But, unlike many previous claims of spikes in suicide rates, the researchers took into account seasonal differences in suicide rates, and recent trends.
“They nicely controlled this by looking across years and showing a discontinuity for this particular year only, Said Matthew K. Nock, a psychologist at Harvard.
In the analysis of a team led by Jeffrey A. Bridge of the R esearch Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed suicide Data from the Center for Disease Control between January 201
But among those aged 10 to 17 , the rate jumped nearly 30 percent in April 2017, and remained higher for the year. The study estimated that 195 more suicides occurred in 2017 in this age group than would be expected given current trends.
"This is the first report ever seen, and of course it was our greatest fear that this might be a possibility ”with the show, said Dr. Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer at the JED Foundation, a teen suicide prevention group.
[ Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter ]
Dr. Schwartz also said that Netflix had consulted with the JED Foundation along the way, and that the second season had incorporated several of his group's recommendations.
In a surprise, boys accounted for almost all of the increase in 2017. The research team had anticipated that girls, identifying with the star of the show, would be more vulnerable. Dr. Horowitz said that looking at suicide-attempt data, which the researchers did not have, might have another story.