Date of Award

8-7-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Cynthia Hoffner, PhD

Second Advisor

Holley Wilkin, PhD

Third Advisor

Patricia Davis, PhD

Abstract

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the issue of suicide in Nigeria, based on an analysis of online news articles about suicide as well as posts in response to those news articles. The study examined how the articles framed suicide, including stereotypes about suicide, and how often comments reflected common beliefs/attitudes towards suicide. Twenty-four articles and 168 comments were analyzed. Results revealed stereotypes in language and images in the articles, which often deviated from the World Health Organization responsible suicide-reporting guidelines. The articles cited economic hardship and mental illness most often as causes of suicide, but none of the articles provided solutions to the problem of suicide or information on where to seek help. Comments cited politics and economic hardship most often as causes of suicide, and rarely mentioned mental illness. Mental health professionals and journalists should work together to improve news coverage of suicide and promote the use of suicide prevention resources.

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