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Does art imitate death? Depictions of suicide in fiction


Pridmore, S and Walter, G, Does art imitate death? Depictions of suicide in fiction, Australasian Psychiatry, 21, (1) pp. 65-72. ISSN 1039-8562 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

DOI: doi:10.1177/1039856212460601


Objective: To determine whether fiction (narrative products) deals with the issue of suicide and, if so, what it tells us about suicide "drivers".

Method: Accounts of suicide in narrative products were sought through web-based lists, book club members, other active readers and a prize-winning film writer and producer.

Results: Seventy-one depictions of fictional suicidal events were identified. In 12 suicides, the author appeared to indicate that the death was directly or indirectly due to mental disorder. In 15 suicides, the motivation could not be determined by the reader, and in 44 cases the motivation was social/situational factors.

Conclusions: Suicidal events are depicted in fiction, and the features are broadly similar to the features of suicide in the real world. Should it be determined that cultural influences, including fiction, are important in suicide, any preventive activities aimed at modifying cultural influences will need to consider all forms of narrative product.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:culture, fiction, predicament suicide, suicide
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Pridmore, S (Professor Saxby Pridmore)
ID Code:84071
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2013-04-16
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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