Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Joel Greenhouse co-authors study on Netflix series "13 Reasons Why"

"13 Reasons Why" tells the story of a young girl who kills herself and leaves behind a series of 13 tapes detailing the reasons why she chose to end her life. "Youth may be particularly susceptible to suicide contagion, which can be fostered by stories that sensationalize or promote simplistic explanations of suicidal behavior, glorify or romanticize the decedent, present suicide as a means of accomplishing a goal or offer potential prescriptions of how-to die by suicide," said Jeff Bridge, from Ohio State University.

The authors used interrupted time series and forecasting models to analyze monthly rates of suicide between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2017 — the time period before and after the release of "13 Reasons Why." "We adjusted for potential effects of seasonality and underlying trends on suicide rates and estimated that the series' release was associated with approximately 195 additional suicide deaths in 2017 for 10- to 17-year-olds," said Joel Greenhouse, professor of statistics in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the second author on the study. "Interestingly, there was no significant association between the series' release and suicide in individuals 18 and older."

The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. You can read more about it at