The impact of suicidality-related internet use: A prospective large cohort study with young and middle-aged internet users

Hajime Sueki, Naohiro Yonemoto, Tadashi Takeshima, Masatoshi Inagaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: There has been no study that has allowed clear conclusions about the impact of suicide-related or mental health consultation-related internet use. Aim: To investigate the impacts of suicide-related or mental health consultation-related internet use. Methods: We conducted prospective observational longitudinal study with data collection at baseline screening (T0), 1 week after T0 (T1) and 7 weeks after T0 (T2). Participants with a stratified random sampling from 744,806 internet users were 20-49 years of age who employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons and internet users who did not. The main outcome was suicidal ideation. Secondary outcome measures comprised hopelessness, depression/anxiety, and loneliness. Results: The internet users who had employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons at T0 (n = 2813), compared with those who had not (n = 2682), showed a significant increase in suicidal ideation (b = 0.38, 95%CI: 0.20-0.55) and depression/anxiety (b = 0.37, 95%CI: 0.12-0.61) from T1 to T2. Those who disclosed their own suicidal ideation and browsed for information about suicide methods on the web showed increased suicidal ideation (b = 0.55, 95%CI: 0.23-0.88; b = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.26-0.63, respectively). Although mental health consultation with an anonymous other online did not increase suicidal ideation, increased depression/anxiety was observed (b = 0.34, 95%CI: 20.03-0.71). Conclusions: An increased suicidal ideation was observed in the young and middle-aged who employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons. Mental health consultation via the internet was not useful, but those who did so showed worsened depression/anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere94841
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 16 2014

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middle-aged adults
cohort studies
mental health
Internet
Suicidal Ideation
suicide
Cohort Studies
Mental Health
Suicide
Referral and Consultation
Health
anxiety
Anxiety
Depression
Loneliness
longitudinal studies
Observational Studies
Longitudinal Studies
Screening
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

The impact of suicidality-related internet use : A prospective large cohort study with young and middle-aged internet users. / Sueki, Hajime; Yonemoto, Naohiro; Takeshima, Tadashi; Inagaki, Masatoshi.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 9, No. 4, e94841, 16.04.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sueki, Hajime ; Yonemoto, Naohiro ; Takeshima, Tadashi ; Inagaki, Masatoshi. / The impact of suicidality-related internet use : A prospective large cohort study with young and middle-aged internet users. In: PLoS One. 2014 ; Vol. 9, No. 4.
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abstract = "Background: There has been no study that has allowed clear conclusions about the impact of suicide-related or mental health consultation-related internet use. Aim: To investigate the impacts of suicide-related or mental health consultation-related internet use. Methods: We conducted prospective observational longitudinal study with data collection at baseline screening (T0), 1 week after T0 (T1) and 7 weeks after T0 (T2). Participants with a stratified random sampling from 744,806 internet users were 20-49 years of age who employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons and internet users who did not. The main outcome was suicidal ideation. Secondary outcome measures comprised hopelessness, depression/anxiety, and loneliness. Results: The internet users who had employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons at T0 (n = 2813), compared with those who had not (n = 2682), showed a significant increase in suicidal ideation (b = 0.38, 95{\%}CI: 0.20-0.55) and depression/anxiety (b = 0.37, 95{\%}CI: 0.12-0.61) from T1 to T2. Those who disclosed their own suicidal ideation and browsed for information about suicide methods on the web showed increased suicidal ideation (b = 0.55, 95{\%}CI: 0.23-0.88; b = 0.45, 95{\%} CI: 0.26-0.63, respectively). Although mental health consultation with an anonymous other online did not increase suicidal ideation, increased depression/anxiety was observed (b = 0.34, 95{\%}CI: 20.03-0.71). Conclusions: An increased suicidal ideation was observed in the young and middle-aged who employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons. Mental health consultation via the internet was not useful, but those who did so showed worsened depression/anxiety.",
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