A Mapping Study on the Internet and Suicide
Background: Since the mid-1990s concerns have been raised regarding the possible links between suicide and the Internet, especially among adolescents and young adults. Aims: To identify the nature and extent of the scientific publications, especially original research studies, on suicide and the Internet, and to investigate how the field has developed over time. In particular, this mapping study looks at types of publications, topic areas, focus of original research papers, and suicide-related variables of interest in publications. Method: A search of three major databases (PubMED, PsycINFO, and Sociological Abstracts) was conducted to identify papers published until the end of January 2015. Results: The study identified 237 publications on suicide and the Internet published from 1997 to the end of January 2015. These included 122 original research papers. The three most frequent topic areas covered in publications were searching for information on suicide, online interventions, and online suicide-related behaviors. The online mediums most frequently studied were online forums/message boards, search engines, intervention and information websites, and social media. Limitations: The mapping study did not include an analysis of results of research studies and did not assess their quality. Conclusion: The field is rapidly evolving, as seen in the recent increase in the number of publications. However, there are gaps in terms of the countries where research is conducted and the coverage of topics.