favored by the majority of researchers in the area, such as the suggestion that portrayals of competitiveness, rather than violence, account for these negative effects of media exposure (Adachi and Willoughby, 2011a,b; Przybylski et al., 2010).
Copycat Behaviors as a Result of Media Violence
Some research suggests that media violence may be imitated or copied in real life, especially in cases of suicide (which may or may not involve a gun) (Bollen and Phillips, 1982; Chen et al., 2012; Gould et al., 2003; Phillips, 1982; Pirkis et al., 2006; Stack, 2003, 2005; Tousignant et al., 2005). Research has shown an increase in suicide attempts after the publicized suicide of a political or entertainment celebrity (Chen et al., 2012; Stack, 2003, 2005; Tousignant et al., 2005), as well as publicity surrounding mass suicides or murder-suicides (Pirkis et al., 2006). A dose–response relationship has also been documented between the intensity of media exposure and the number of subsequent presumably copycat suicides (Etzersdorfer et al., 2001). Evidence has also been found for consistencies between the methods of suicide detailed in media stories and presumably imitative suicides that occur in the wake of media stories (Etzersdorfer et al., 2001; Tousignant et al., 2005), adding to the plausibility of the interpretation that these events are copied. Research has also shown that the strength of effects on presumably imitative suicides varies by type of media, with television publicity sometimes seeming to result in more suicide imitators (Pirkis et al., 2006) and sometimes fewer (Stack, 2003, 2005) than if the suicide was publicized in newspapers.
Although there is not much research in this area, the existing research on broad patterns of presumably copycat acts is sufficiently strong to suggest that it might be useful to carry out more in-depth studies, such as retrospective case-control psychological autopsy studies, in an effort to learn more about the characteristics of people who are susceptible to such media effects and determine if there are any modifiable risk factors that could provide insights on effective preventive interventions. Such indepth studies might also produce insights that could advise media purveyors about changes in frequency or type of violent content to help reduce copycat effects or encourage help-seeking behaviors (Pirkis et al., 2006; Stack, 2003).
In addition to concerns about direct imitations of media violence, there are other possible adverse effects of media stories such as evening news reports about violent incidents in the community and ongoing sen-