RESEARCH ARTICLE


A Convergent-mixed Method Study on the Attitudes and Perception Towards Suicide Memes and Suicidality



Christian Jasper C. Nicomedes1, *
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, Christoper F. Sasot1
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, Geraldine F. Santos1
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, John Mark S. Distor1
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, Pricila B. Marzan1
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, Aimee Rose Manda1
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1 Polytechnic University of the Philippines, 808 Tandang Sora Ave., Old Balara, Quezon City, Philippines


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Creative Commons License
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, 808 Tandang Sora Ave., Old Balara, Quezon City, Philippines; E-mail: christianjaspern@yahoo.com


Abstract

Background

As the number of social media users rises, so does the popularity of internet memes. This includes suicide memes, which are centered on the surreal aspects of human life, existence, and voluntary death. Opinions vary; some find them triggering and offensive, advocating against their presence on social media. Meanwhile, others see them as harmless entertainment for the audience.

Methods

The researchers examined the perception of suicide memes relative to suicidal behaviors of 230 respondents. The convergent-mixed method was utilized to analyze both quantitative and qualitative data simultaneously.

Results

The study found that most respondents reported self-injury without suicidal intent, desires to be dead, and suicidal thoughts. Additionally, a significant portion experienced isolation or feelings of loneliness, and the majority had not received any treatment. More participants reported experiencing suicidality over their lifetime and within the past month and found suicide memes entertaining. Qualitative analysis revealed themes including humor, inappropriateness, relatability, triggering, destigmatization, and perception dependence on delivery/poster. Respondents not wishing to die expressed negative reactions, while those with suicidal ideation found the memes amusing or soothing.

Conclusion

The study reveals a complicated and split view among social media users regarding the propriety and impact of such content by finding a substantial correlation between people who engage in self-injury activities and those who find suicide memes amusing. The results imply the need for greater tact and awareness while posting or making suicide-related memes on social media, especially considering the varied viewpoints and experiences of people with different degrees of suicidality.

Keywords: Suicide, Suicide memes, Suicidal behavior, Technology, Social media, Death.