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Types of Stressors on Nonprofessional Against-Suicide and Pro-Suicide Message Boards

Content Analysis

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000562

Abstract.Background: Little is known about presenting problems of primary posters (i.e., posters opening the thread) and their responders in nonprofessional against-suicide and pro-suicide message boards. Aims: We aimed to compare problems described in suicide message boards between different types of users (primary posters and respondents) and between against-suicide, neutral, and pro-suicide message boards. Method: In all, 1,182 archival threads with 20,499 individual postings from seven nonprofessional suicide message boards supporting an against-suicide, neutral, or pro-suicide attitude were randomly selected. Problems mentioned by primary posters and their respondents were coded with content analysis. Differences between pro-suicide, neutral, and against suicide boards, as well as correlations between primary posters and respondents, were calculated. Results: Interpersonal problems were most frequently mentioned by primary posters in against-suicide threads (40.9%) and less frequently in pro-suicide threads (11.8%; p < .001). In pro-suicide boards, the most frequent stressors were suicide method-related (e.g., how to identify a safe method: 26.2% vs. 2.5% in against-suicide boards, p < .001). Primary posters resembled respondents in terms of presenting problems in pro-suicide boards, but not in against-suicide boards. Limitations: Only self-reported problems were assessed. Conclusion: The results confirm a stronger focus on death than on life among users in pro-suicide message boards, and posters with similar problems meet in pro-suicide boards. The posters appear to clearly emphasize social strains over psychiatric problems compared with some professional settings.

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