Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Korean Copycats Increase After Actress' Suicide

The Korean media is alerting us to a new wave of copycat suicides in the wake of a celebrity suicide, "Lee Eun-ju Sparks Copycat Suicide Craze."

Actress Lee Eun-ju hanged herself on February 22nd.

The article mentioned: "The Seoul Central Prosecutors Office said analysis of deaths in seven Seoul districts" from January through March 17th, "revealed that there were 2.13 suicides a day in the 23-day period after Lee’s suicide. This was 2.5 times the daily average of 0.84 during the 53-day period before Lee’s suicide."

"A woman in her 20s who hung herself in her room on the morning of March 1 told people around her that she had found a way to free herself from debt after learning of actress Lee Eun-ju’s suicide, police said."

Hanging had moved from 53% of the suicides to 80% of the deaths, with 14 of the 15 individuals in their 20s using the method of hanging. Clearly, behavior contagion and modeling are occurring in Korea. The article mentions the "Werther Effect," as the concept is clearly understand in Korea, and is realized as an important component in these suicides.

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