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A Content Analysis of Reddit Users' Perspectives on Reasons for Not Following Through with a Suicide Attempt
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF4.157),  Pub Date : 2021-10-13, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0521
Andre Mason, Kyungho Jang, Kirsten Morley, Damian Scarf, Sunny C. Collings, Benjamin C. Riordan

Despite a growing understanding of the triggers for suicidal thoughts and behavior, little is known about the mechanisms that prevent people from killing themselves. The goal of the present study was to use publicly available Reddit data to better understand the reasons that people give for not following through with a potentially lethal suicide attempt. Threads containing key terms (e.g., “kill yourself”) within the subreddit /r/AskReddit were collected and all top posts from these threads were thematically coded. Across the posts collected, 11 different themes were identified; friends and family, curiosity and optimism about the future, spite, purpose, transience, hobbies, animals/pets, fear of survival, fear of pain, death and/or the afterlife, apathy/laziness, and intervention. Some additional themes were captured in an “other” category, and a twelfth theme, use of pharmaceutical drugs, was identified, but not discussed. These findings provide a broad overview about the proximal protective factors that directly stopped people from making a suicide attempt. They also illustrate the potential for Reddit as platform through which to better understand factors that may help to identify and support those in suicidal crisis. Such insight may help to inform intervention and prevention strategies for suicide and those in suicidal crisis.